Wednesday, March 23, 2011

News and Notes: Wednesday Edition

Below, some news and notes for Wednesday...
  • We are still planning on providing our readers a sneak peak at the Big Red's 2011-2012 schedule within the next few weeks. We are hearing that Cornell has just one game left to finalize before the schedule is officially complete. Other program offseason news reports are also planned. Fans can also expect to see on The Cornell Basketball Blog in the next few weeks and months, SlopeTV's fantastic season highlights and other feature videos currently in production.
  • On Tuesday night in NBA D-League action, Ryan Wittman ('10) finished with 9 points on 3/5 shooting from the floor while also collecting 2 rebounds and 1 assist in 17 minutes as his Ft. Wayne Mad Ants fell to the Erie Bay Hawks, 113-104.
  • The Salt Lake Tribune writes, "Between the senior seasons of Danny Ainge and Jimmer Fredette, the likes of Ball State, Bradley, Cleveland State, Chattanooga and Cornell played this long [and advanced to the Sweet 16]."
  • Kunal Gutpa of the Columbia Spectator makes a somewhat interesting comment in stating, "It seems like a long time ago, but in the past two weeks Ivy League basketball has made national headlines, ESPN’s top 10 plays of the weekend, and had a near-upset of Kentucky. Not bad for a league that’s been seen as nothing more than a one-and-done league in the recent past. Strong showings by Cornell and Princeton in the past two years make it clear that Ivy basketball is nothing to laugh at." Not to knock Gutpa's enthusiasm, but Princeton was indeed "one and done" this season, losing in the first round. Does it matter if it was by 2 points or 9 points? On the other hand, Cornell earned two wins in the Tournament last year before losing to a Kentucky team in the Sweet 16 that set an NBA record with five 1st round draft choices, including the No. 1 overall pick, John Wall. As we have noted before, the bar of success for the Ivy League should always be winning at least one if not multiple tournament games. If Butler and Gonzaga can do it, so can the Ivies, which Cornell proved last year.


Anonymous said...

So in the case of Princeton-Kentucky, only the result matters, and the fact that the game was decided on the last play is apparently not relevant.

But for Cornell's loss to Kentucky, it matters about how many draft choices Kentucky had?

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

No, it doesn't matter in either case. Both teams lost. But Cornell won two games and Princeton did not win anything.

There is no such thing as moral victories.

The only "relevant" losses are regular season losses that impress the Selection Committee of the NCAA Tournament.

A loss in the tournament is just what it is... a loss. And in Princeton's case, it was 1-and-done.

Do you really think recruits are impressed by losing by 2 points in the first round? Is that really a bragging point?

Anonymous said...

So, to summarize, a close loss by Cornell to Kansas is "relevant" and "impresses," but a close loss by Princeton to Kentucky is "one and done" and nothing more than "a loss."

Princeton got a lot of coverage on ESPN and CBS for a team whose season was a failure.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Cornell's close loss to Kansas helped Cornell get a 12 seed. The Big Red's run to the Sweet 16 is still talked about today by the media and will be talked about for a long time until another Ivy duplicates it.

Princeton's loss to Kentucky did nothing for Princeton other than 24 hours of media attention and a quick flight home from Tampa. In other words, there were some positives from it, but they are minimal, which is what you would expect from a first round exit to a No. 4 seed.

Anonymous said...

So, to follow your logic, it was highly valuable that we "impressed" the selection committee with the close loss at Kansas because without it, we might have dropped down to a 13 seed, where in the first round we would have faced 4 seed Wisconsin, a team we beat anyway.

Meanwhile, Sydney Johnson has only "minimal" "bragging points" to sell to potential recruits from Princeton "losing by two points in the first round."

Got it. I wonder if Coach Courtney would like some of those minimal bragging points.

Anonymous said...

The attention PU got for that narrow loss is absolutely nowhere near the attention Cornell got for anything last year, even fiddling with a rubix cube at an airport.

I don't know why the close loss to KU captivated people. Maybe it was cos KU was #1 ranked at the while UK is not. Maybe if PU had done similarly against Duke, things will be different; they'd have kept a closer eye on PU all season. Or maybe it's because people don't really remember interesting first round games after a few days. I think it was Bill Self who said on ESPN one time that the biggest thing a program could do for its public profile was get to the Sweet 16. He had experienced it when at Tulsa that you need to get through a weekend, that the worst losses are the 2nd and 4th round games. After getting through a wekend, you get a week long bout of publicity. Even if you win one game the first weekend, no one really remembers it after a few days. I think he's right... even Morehead State who won, it isn't getting that much attention while VCU is headline news.

Of course for the kids themselves, just getting to the dance will be an unforgettable experience.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Would absolutely concede that going to the Tournament and losing in the first round is better than not going at all.

This is not in dispute.

But losing by 2 points to Kentucky is really no better than losing by 10. In the end of the day, a loss is a loss and you don't build a program based on moral victories.

Every coach in the Ivy League will tell you that Cornell has set the bar and anything short of matching Cornell's 2009-2010 season falls short.

Remember, Cornell was not just a Sweet 16 team in 2010, it also finished the year ranked No. 17 in the final poll. This is the new standard by which all Ivies will be judged during the next few years.

Going to the tournament and losing is not all that satisfying unless your standards are low.

Cornell had those standards--- back in 2008--- when Cornell's rotation consisted of just 1 senior (Jason Hartford).

Anonymous said...

Getting two weeks of media coverage during the tournament, including the intensified second week, is better than getting only one week of media coverage. Obviously.

But it speaks volumes about our own insecurities that we keep defining success solely along narrow lines that only we have met in the recent past. Princeton might say that success is winning their 26th Ivy championship. Harvard might say that success is winning their first. I think that Sydney Johnson and Tommy Amaker will have things to discuss with recruits other than "I would be interested in talking to you if Bill Courtney passes on you."

Be careful where you set the bar because it may not be too long before we would be thrilled to be losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Anonymous said...

I agree. There is a huge difference between winning a game and winning zero games.

There is very little difference between a 2 point loss and a 20 point loss in the first round of the tournament...especially if you're an Ivy league team.

The next thing I need is for someone from Princeton to argue they should have been a 5 seed, because they were only slightly worse than Kentucky...

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Frankly, I don't care how Penn, Princeton or Harvard define "success" in their little tiny corners of the world.

I only care about what recruits think it means.

And ask any recruit, or even any current Ivy player-- and they will tell you that they want what Cornell already did--- go deep in the Tournament and become ranked.
Have national significance.

They could care less if Princeton won X number of titles in X number of years and was swiftly eliminated annually from the Tournament.

Winning the Ivy League title is not what these kids dream about.

They dream about playing in the Sweet 16, the Final Four etc.

Cornell had a nice recruiting class considering there was a sharp and sudden change in the coaching staff.

With the new financial aid policies and the recent demonstrated national success, I think we are going to see Cornell going head to head with higher level programs for recruits.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:21 & 2:28,
Time to move on to another site if you don't like what you're reading here.
But, your right a close loss to Kansas is relevant and impressive; and your right again in stating that Princeton has minimal bragging points to sell because of its loss to Kentucky.
What recruit in his right mind would be impressed by a loss, any loss, whether it be 2 points or 200.
Get over it.

Anonymous said...

Tommy Amaker to recruits: "I am leading the greatest improvement ever in the history of Harvard basketball."

Sydney Johnson to recruits: "During the first five decades of this conference's existence, we won more than half of all championships and I have returned the program to its previous prominence."

Bill Courtney to recruits: "My predecessor took this program to the Sweet Sixteen."

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Tommy Amaker to recruits: "I was busted for violating NCAA rules, I cut kids each year, I was fired at my last job and I have only 1 NCAA appearance in more than a decade of coaching, our admissions office will cut corners to get you in here and we'll give you a scholarship but we won't call it a scholarship, and our gym is smaller than your middle school gym. Want to make some (school only) history together so I can bolt this gig ASAP and get back to the BCS?"

Sydney Johnson to recruits: "This program has a proud history of winning the Ivy title but has not been to the Sweet 16 during your lifetime. Want to make some moral victories together like good ole Kit Muller???"

Bill Courtney to recruits: "I just got here, but I am going to build upon what my predecessor started. They went to the Sweet Sixteen and were ranked. We are just getting started here."

Anonymous said...

I don't think the difference between winning your conference regularly but not winning at the tourney and national relevancy / being able to make a run at the tournament is arbitrary, that people just pick whichever one makes them feel better. One is like being a big fish in a small pond and one is like a different world. I'm pretty sure ADs learned this last year, or that Harvard's intention has been on this scale since Amaker's hiring. They wouldn't be getting their fancy recruits without a promise of serious intentions at national relevancy. I don't care which Ivy accomplishes a tourney run; as we saw last year it will only result in the other Ivies being determined to get better.

That being said, if I ask myself, how many conference trophies without tourney wins is worth one Sweet 16 run, I find myself unable to answer the question because they feel like such different things. I was elated in '08 when Cornell won the conference and thought I would be satisfied with just that every year because tourney runs for Ivies just weren't realistic. Now? Don't know; last year was a whole different scale and if you honestly think they're the same thing ... you can't honestly think they're the same thing.

Anonymous said...

In regards to the earlier comment about they the KU thing might have captivated attention but the UK game didn't, am I the only one who wasn't shocked Princeton came close? It didn't change my perception of Princeton; it didn't mean to me that they couldn't have easily turned around the next day and lost to a 250-ranked team.

I think what might have confused people's perceptions was the Duke game. Prior to that game, some of us wondered if it was even possible to rout Princeton due to their tempo-controlling style. But when Duke routed them, we figured that a normal expectation was that it would happen again this time. But this time they didn't try to run with UK as they had tried to run with Duke; instead they controlled the tempo. So they were just their normal selves whose style means they can upset anybody but also lose to Presbytarian or Brown. The Duke game, I think, might've resulted in people forgetting who they were. It did not, for me, have a Cornell-Kansas perceptual shift about what Princeton was capable of. Had it not been for the Duke rout, then last week's close results, I think, would've been exactly what we were expecting.

Anonymous said...

Reaching the Sweet Sixteen is a tremendous achievement whose magnitude is self-evident and stands on its own.

It sounds awfully petty and seems to reflect more than a little insecurity when Cornell fans feel motivated to belittle or diminish the accomplishments of another team which had a successful season simply because the other team did not make the Sweet Sixteen.

Every time that a Cornell fan says essentially, "Nyah, nyah, you didn't make the Sweet Sixteen," it says less about the other team and more about Cornell fans.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Call it insecurity (jealousy, envy) if you want, but the facts are the facts.

The Columbia Spectator's author mentioned the Ivy's history of "one and done" and that is EXACTLY what happened to Princeton, failing to match Cornell's 2010 performance or to at least win one game.

Basically, the Ivy reverted back to insignificance this year.

Duh said...

Q. Did Princeton win?!?!

A. No.

One and done. If losing is respectable, then Cornell had one freaking great season.

Anonymous said...

A narrow first round loss is not equivalent to winning two games -- it just isn't, and it's stupid to suggest that it is or disparage people that insist that it isnt -- but at the same time, I remember being very annoyed last year when Penn folk would come by and remind us they had won umpteen trophies. It felt like a rude attempt to detract from what Cornellians were experiencing at the time. So, it would be nice if we instead turned our attention to discussing how Cornell doesn't turn last year's lapse into a relapse and just focus on ourselves and forget Princeton, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Funny stuff as always from this blog. Yes, a fluke Sweet 16 run (followed by a 6-8 season with no title contention hopes in sight) is such a great recruiting tool. That's why Bradley is tearing up the MVC...oh wait.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Bradley did not win the league 3 years in a row or reach a plateau that no other team in its league reached for 30 years.

Bad example.

What Cornell accomplished was so special, so unique, you still fail to comprehend the achievement.

And Cornell is already seeing the rewards.

Cornell's current recruiting class is the best the school has collected (in terms of scholarship offers received by the recruits) in 20 years.

Cornell achieved this despite a coaching change and the staff having only 3 months to put it all together.

Based on who Cornell is hosting on visits and who is attending their camp in the spring, I'd say the Big Red is going to be a league favorite very soon.

Anonymous said...

Well at least Bradley's been there.

Anonymous said...

"Based on who Cornell is hosting on visits and who is attending their camp in the spring, I'd say the Big Red is going to be a league favorite very soon."

Without naming names, what caliber of player are you referring to? Are these legit D-1 talents, or is this blog puffery? Inquiring minds (and fans of the Big Red) want to know. It's one of the few things that gives us hope after this relatively painful season.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:09 PM:

Um, I don't think that anybody in this thread, including the Columbia columnist originally referenced by CBB, ever said that a narrow first round loss is equivalent to winning two games.

Which would be more stupid? Making that claim or attacking that transparently false straw man vigorously and repeatedly?

But thanks for playing.

Anonymous said...

Hoop skirts, horse-and-buggies, tin-type photographs, the abacus, P’s winning Ivy basketball crowns and going one-and-out in the NCAA tournament, bleeding to cure the common cold, Life magazine, ticker tape, Prohibition. All were once accepted status quo’s. No more.

Times change. If it hadn’t been for a couple Harvard collapses late in games in New Haven this year, the Ivies would have seen their fourth year in a row without a P on top and in the tournament for the first time since the league formed. These are strong signs of a new status quo in our league. It’s not just Cornell crashing the party. It’s Harvard. It’s Yale. There are even signs of life on Morningside Heights.

It was hard work getting here. Now, let’s all focus on doing the even harder work that will preserve it.

Anonymous said...

CBB: "Cornell's current recruiting class is the best the school has collected (in terms of scholarship offers received by the recruits) in 20 years."

I'm confused. Didn't Cornell suck 20 years ago?

In any event, I, like Anon 7:12, would like to know who these great alleged recruits/visits may be. Are we talking Kenyatta Smith level?

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Cornell was good from the 2005 through 2010, and the current recruiting is better than those classes.

Anonymous said...

What is "better?" I am a big CU fan, but, with all due respect, this puffing over recruits is getting, well... annoying. It never seems to help anyone win games.

So, let's just say that "better is as 'better' does." When two incoming frosh average ~2A, 3R, and 14+P/per game over a whole schedule throughout the 2011-12 (or any) season, it will be OK to say that the 2011-12 (or any) recruiting class is as good as any in the past 20+ years.

Not before... only after.

When one realizes that an average year sees only three or four frosh across the whole league average even in the high single digits, it's a very tall hurdle.

Anonymous said...

Well, at least Jeremy Lin's been there.