Get all the information you need about the Big Red's season opener tonight (11.11.11) at St. Bonaventure with The Cornell Basketball Blog's Game Preview Center. Also, JOIN THE MESSAGE BOARD and discuss the game with your fellow fans. Below, the Sports Network issues its prediction.
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 11th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reilly Center (5,480) -- Olean, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Cornell 0-0, SBU 0-0. Away Record: Cornell 0-0, SBU 0-0. Neutral Record: Cornell 0-0, SBU 0-0. Conference Record: Cornell 0-0, SBU 0-0.Series Record: Cornell leads, 8-4
GAME NOTES: Cornell will open its season by traveling across the Empire State to play St. Bonaventure of the Atlantic 10 on Bob Lanier Court at the Reilly Center.
Bill Courtney enters his second season as the Big Red's coach with high hopes. Cornell finished 10-19 last year after a Sweet 16 run in the previous year that had the nation talking. Courtney took over a project last season as the Big Red lost four starters and eight seniors from the year before. Cornell has won six consecutive openers.
The 2011-12 Bonnies begin the season with high expectations in their fifth year under head coach Mark Schmidt. St. Bonaventure returns four starters from last year's squad that posted the school's first winning record (16-15) and postseason appearance (CBI) since 2001-02.
Cornell leads the head-to-head battle with the Bonnies 8-4. In the last six meetings St. Bonaventure's only win was last years 56-54 thriller in Ithica.
Cornell is planning to bounce back from last year's rebuilding season and contend for the Ivy League title once again. The Big Red will be carried by floor general Chris Wroblewski. The senior point man averaged 14.2 points per game last year, led the conference in steals, and was second in assists. His back court mate will be the Ivy League's leading three point shooter Drew Ferry who drained 80 triples in 2010-2011. Errick Peck will provide front court support as he hopes to improve on his 11 points per game average. Cornell was one of the top three point shooting teams in the nation last year as it ranked sixth in the nation. The Big Red will need to improve their rebounding efficiency this year as they were beat on the boards by an average of 3.5 rebounds per game last season.
The Bonnies are going to be led by forward Andrew Nicholson who averaged 20.8 points and 7.26 rebounds per game last season. Nicholson will look to improve to his impressive resume which already consists of an A-10 Rookie of the Year, First and Second Team All-Conference selections, and Wooden and Naismith nominations. Nicholson will get help from Michael Davenport (11.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and Demetrius Conger (10 ppg, 5.5 rpg) as the Bonnies aim for a birth in the NCAA Tournament. St. Bonaventure needs to improve on its turnover margin this season as its -3.20 average from 2010-2011 was ranked 320th in the nation.
The Bonnies escaped with a narrow win last year and there is nothing to indicate Cornell will be a pushover. The Big Red will have to find a way to shut down Nicholson which will not be easy considering they graduated much of their frontcourt from last season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: St. Bonaventure 66, Cornell 60