Wednesday, August 10, 2011

News and Notes: Wednesday Edition

Below, some news and notes for Wednesday...
  • Cornell's freshman are returning to their respective home towns this week after spending the last six weeks at Cornell enrolled in summer session classes. During the summer the rookies had the opportunity to adjust to Cornell and Ithaca, get ahead of their academic programs and work out together informally while also developing team chemistry and friendships among their classmates. The Big Red's rookies return to Ithaca with the veterans during the week of August 22 in time for the Cornell Rebounders Club team picnic, which unofficially kicks off the new 2011-2012 season.
  • Jeff Foote ('10) was in action last night at the Nike Pro City League at Baruch College in Manhattan. Student Ivy League sports writers from the Harvard Crimson, Cornell Daily Sun and Slope Sports were in attendance. Foote unofficially finished with a double-double and dished several assists. (Photo, Cornell Daily Sun Sports Twitter feed). Louis Dale ('10), Foote's summer league teamate on the New York Athletic Club team was not in attendance and has returned back to Germany to join up with his club, Goettingen.
  • Princeton Athletics' official blog, The Tiger Blog, once again discusses which was the best Ivy League team of the last 15 years and writes, "believe what the eye tells you. TigerBlog saw the Ugonna Onyekwe Penn teams, the Sweet 16 Cornell team and the late 1990s Princeton teams. He doesn't need any statistical analysis to tell him which team was the best. He'll take Princeton first, Penn second, Cornell third. The eyes have it." Of course, Tiger Blog watched those teams through his Princeton-issued glasses. The Princeton teams mentioned above never advanced past the NCAA Tournament's 2nd round and also never defeated a top 25 team. The Penn teams achieved even less, never winning a single tournament game, becoming a perennial "one and done" postseason club. But of the teams Tiger Blog mentioned above, only Cornell was voted at the conclusion of the NCAA Tournament as a top 25 team by the country's coaches (Cornell finished No. 17 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Top 25 Poll in 2010). Cornell was also the only one of those teams to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Cornell was also the only one of those teams to claim wins over two Top 25 teams (knocking off Wisconsin and Temple and nearly upsetting Kansas, the No. 1 team in the country in Lawrence). Thus, the best team "gets the job done" and in the end, there is no debating it, Cornell accomplished far more than those Penn and Princeton teams and will always be remembered by fans across the nation and the popular media as the most successful Ivy League team since 1979.

(Above, Slope Sports' Jake Mastbaum's collection of newspaper national headlines from 2010 after Cornell reached the NCAA Tournament's Sweet Sixteen.)

From a Date in Cornell Basketball History, Associated Press photographs from November 19, 2005 from Cornell's visit to Penn State. The Big Red return to Penn State on December 21, 2011. In the photos, clockwise, Adam Gore ('09), Andrew Naeve ('07), Jason Hartford ('08) and Lenny Collins ('06).


Anonymous said...

CBB's rebuttal of the commentary on Princeton blog's omits one highly relevant fact. The Princeton writer was not speaking in a vacuum. He was making the point that his personal qualitative opinion comported with a highly quantitative, exceptionally detailed statistical analysis conducted by another blog which concluded that the 1998 Princeton team was by a considerable (and, from my perspective, surprising) margin the best Ivy team of the past 15 years.

This is not to say that CBB's rebuttal is not an entirely reasonable opinion. It absolutely is a fair point of view to maintain.

But the rationale for the quantitative analysis is that one or two or three NCAA games represents a very small sample size. It used the much larger sample population of every possession, offensive and defensive, every trip down the court in either direction, over the course of the entire regular and tournament season.

One can agree or disagree with this approach but it is an honest, sophisticated take on the simple question, "Which team was best?"

Anonymous said...

For me, it's a close call between the '98 Tigers team that achieved a #5 seeding and was ranked incredibly highly going into the tournament. I forget what they were ranked, but I believe it was top 15. I grew up a Princeton fan and went to at least a half dozen games a year during the Tigers 90's run. That '98 team did to UNC at home what Cornell did at Kansas - took them to the wire and really put a scare into them.

I think you could make a rational argument for either squad. Cornell's postseason run in 2010 was more impressive and the way in which they won those first two games was remarkable.

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

Princeton's '98 schedule was SOFT. The Tigers did not earn a win over a single team that made the postseason.

Granted back then only the NIT, existed, but even Cornell picked up a win over an NIT team in 2010 (Alabama).

So... PU's fine record was the result of a full slate of winnable games.

The Tigers won their first round game against a 12 seed UNLV team which was not very good.

Again, Princeton '98 was one of the better Ivy teams since 1980... but no Ivy team could match-up with Cornell'10... which gave both Kansas and Kentucky scares and knocked off a long, long list of BCS and A-10 teams.

Anonymous said...

Why is it even treated as given that quantitative methods are the best way to determine who the greatest team ever was (or the greatest player, or the greatest anything).

Anonymous said...

The statistical analysis is a good read, a very reasonable analytic approach. And of course the results are adjusted for opponents' strength. In this day and age of Bill James and the explosion of data manipulation, we would never expect otherwise. Scaring Kansas or North Carolina in their building counts for more than trouncing Columbia at Newman.

Is it the best way or only way to compare teams from different years? No, but it's certainly a thinking man's attempt to tackle a challenging question.

Most fans would find it highly interesting.

Anonymous said...

The '98 Tigers get credit for "road" wins over three BCS opponents: Texas, NCState, and Wake Forest. In fact, all three of these games took place right "up the road" from Princeton, in East Rutherford.

The '98 Tigers actually won only one non-con road game outside the NYC metropolitan area... and that was in Lewisburg, PA.

Even their NCAA regional was in Hartford.

Well-traveled was not an appropriate adjective for them.

Jack said...

Statistical analysis my ass. I've been watching college basketball for 25 years. All that matters is the tournament,and there, Cornell won two games HANDILY over two powers in the sport, and then played valiantly against a team full of NBA rookies. That Princeton team in the late 90's was overrated and IIRC lost pretty handily in the second round. It's not close. Talentwise the Princeton team might be better. But they were not a better TEAM.

Cornell alum '99