Thursday, March 17, 2011

News and Notes: Thursday Edition

Below, some news and notes for Thursday...
  • The Laconia Citizen writes, "Cornell was a 12-seed in the East Region last March and reached the Sweet 16 with upsets over 5th-seeded Temple and 4th-seeded Wisconsin. Kentucky ended the Cinderella run with a 62-45 win, and [Princeton's Patrick] Saunders became a one-day Wildcat fan watching on T.V. 'It was kind of tough to watch,' he said of Cornell's run. 'We played them twice and I think we lost by three points each time. It was fun to watch just knowing we played against them, but I was hoping they would get smashed by Temple.'"
  • The New York Times writes, "Kentucky ended Cornell’s tournament run in the Round of 16 last season. This year, the fourth-seeded Wildcats have another date with an Ivy League champion. On Thursday, they will face No. 13 Princeton in Tampa, Fla. The Tigers could pull off an upset, but as the former Kentucky player DeMarcus Cousins said before the game against Cornell last year, 'It’s not a spelling bee.'"
  • Joe Pa's Doghouse writes, "I was in love with that Cornell team last year prior to the tournament and had them going to Elite Eight. They didn't quite make it that far, but it was fun rooting for them on the way"
  • Bucky's 5th Quarter writes of Belmont, Wisconsin's first round opponent, "[Belmont has a] solid post game with a plethora of shooters... the same formula that worked for Cornell last season when it defeated Wisconsin, 87-69."
  • The Bucky Channel writes, "[An] up-tempo, pressing style leads to open shots for Belmont. That has been the undoing of [Wisconsin] Badger teams in 2 of the previous 3 tournament losses (Davidson and Cornell). They can't allow that early shooting momentum to build this time."
  • Rick Bozich of the Louisville Courier Journal writes, "I am sure. Princeton can't win this game. What Cornell did in the NCAA Tournament last season, beating Temple and then Wisconsin before losing to UK by 17 in the East Regional semifinals in Syracuse, N.Y., was an Ivy League aberration. History says that it rarely matters if Ivy League teams hold the ball or press the pace, if they concentrate on three-pointers or work on getting to the rim. They cannot overcome the gap in basketball skills, overall size and experience they face playing a team like Kentucky. Run the numbers. Until Cornell's three-game tournament stay last season, Ivy League teams had lost 11 consecutive first-round NCAA games, eight by 14 or more points... The Princeton players are not Cornell fans. They lost too frequently to the Big Red, including a pair of three-point defeats in 2010. But they admit they watched UK's 62-45 victory over Cornell a year ago and drew inspiration... 'We played with those guys [Cornell], and they're playing against some really good competition,' Princeton guard Douglas Davis said. 'It made you think, ‘Could we be there at some point?' Here we are, playing against those same guys [the Kentucky team Cornell faced].' Not exactly. It's a transformed Kentucky team. And this scenario differs from last season. Cornell was a veteran group making its third consecutive NCAA appearance. Princeton starts more sophomores (two) than seniors (one). The Tigers have not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2004. That Cornell team was primed for its NCAA run, playing regular-season games against Syracuse, Vermont and Kansas. This Princeton squad has played two teams that made the 2011 NCAA field — beating Bucknell by 11 and losing at Duke by 37.When UK and Cornell played last season there was as much talk about what the players were achieving in the classroom as there was about their performance on the basketball court."
  • Numerous news reports indicate that former Cornell head coach, Jan Van Breda Kolff is a candidate for the head coaching position at Florida Gulf Coast. Among them, see the News Press of Florida.
  • Madison.com writes, " Last year, the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team was eliminated during the second round of the NCAA Tournament by a Cornell team that got off to a great start and never looked back."
  • From Madison.com, "UW senior forward Keaton Nankivil said Belmont reminds him of Cornell. 'Cornell just had that groove when we played them last year. In the limited film I've seen, (Belmont) kind of has that mojo to them.'"
  • The New York Post writes, "Kentucky got a close-up look at how tough Ivy League opponents can be last year when it got a scare from Cornell in the Sweet 16... Princeton guard Dan Mavraides believes the Tigers do belong. 'We have a lot of confidence in ourselves,' he said. 'As a team we've come very far. And as much as I hated Cornell during the regular season, it was nice to see them represent the Ivy League well last year. We can take some confidence from that, but even looking beyond that, we have a lot of confidence in our team and our guys and who we're rolling with this year.'"
  • During the Kentucky media session yesterday, Cornell was referenced several times. Below is an excerpt from the transcript:

Q. What do you guys think about Princeton? What do you know about them?

DeAndre Liggins: I think they're much like a team from our perspective like Cornell last year. They make you defend the whole 35 seconds. We just have to be disciplined and watch their every move.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how much of a good eye-opening reminder Cornell's run last year was just to show your players how deep and dangerous an Ivy League team can be?

COACH CALIPARI: You know, I'm really trying to get us to just worry about us right now. They know how good Princeton is. They know -- and again, from us talking to the kind of shooters they have, the kind of game they played, they've won 25 games. I mean, you're talking about a really good team that's well coached, that defends. But I want them focused on us. Look, if we come out and play as well as we can and we don't win, what are you going to do? You walk on.

Last year we hit in the NCAA Tournament, we were playing well, shooting well, and we hit an 0 for 32 stretch, second half against Cornell, 0 for 12, the first 20 shots against West Virginia, 0 for 32. Well, stuff happens.

Q. As somewhat of a follow-up to that, do you see similarities between this Princeton team and the Cornell team you saw last year?

COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, they do not run -- I've coached against Coach Carril. They're not the Princeton -- strictly Princeton, you know spin dribbles, double back doors, chin action. They're not -- they have the chin action, they do the back doors, but they do it to their strength, which is back doors to post-ups, back doors to isos, three-point shooters coming off stagers. They're doing different things. They're scoring 70 points a game. In a Princeton offense to score 70 points that means you're playing faster than a normal Princeton. So I think it's the coach's own stamp, and I think a lot of it comes from John Thompson, the way he did it, which is his own version of Princeton. I think this is how this team is playing. They're good, they're very good, and they shoot it, which is scary.

Josh Harrellson

On the argument that experience beat youth…
“I think Cornell made the same argument last year when they started five seniors. We started three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior. I think that who wants it more will come out and take it from the opponent. Hopefully we want it more than they do.”

  • FastLineSports writes, "Last season, the Ivy League put on a real show in March Madness betting action, as the Cornell Big Red made it into the Sweet 16."

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