Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sports Network Predicts Cornell vs. Penn

The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 14th, 7:00 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Newman Arena (4,472) -- Ithaca, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Penn 4-5, Cornell 6-1. Away Record: Penn 4-4, Cornell 0-8. Neutral Record: Penn 0-0, Cornell 0-0. Conference Record: Penn 1-0, Cornell 1-0. Series Record: Penn leads, 143-73.

GAME NOTES: Both Penn and Cornell hope to extend their Ivy League starts to 2-0 when the Big Red play host to the Quakers tonight in Ithaca.

After getting off to a slow start against superior non-conference competition, Penn has turned things around of late. The Quakers are winners of three of their last four, including a nail-biting 66-64 decision over Columbia on Friday.

Cornell too had its early-season struggles. After losing five straight from the end of December through early January, the Big Red has won two in a row, with the latest triumph coming over Princeton on Friday, 67-59.

Since losing 18 straight games to Penn, Cornell has won seven of the last eight matchups, including a 74-72 thriller last February. Penn still has a commanding lead in this storied rivalry though, holding firm to a 143-73 advantage.

Penn boasts one of the most prolific offenses in the Ivy League, as it is scoring 67.3 ppg. Zack Rosen has been one of the league's best players, as he is second in points per game (18.5) and first in assists per game (6.2). In last night's win over Columbia, Rosen scored 15 points, with 13 coming in the Quakers' second-half comeback. Tyler Bernardini had a team-high 16 points in Friday's win and is fourth in the league in scoring with just over 15 ppg. Bernardini also leads the team with 5.6 rpg. Miles Cartwright, who also had 16 points in the win, rounds out Penn's balanced scoring attack, tallying 10.5 ppg. The Quakers are not a very physical team, as they rank in the lower half of the league in most rebounding and defensive categories.

Cornell presents an even better scoring offense than Penn, netting a shade more at 67.4 ppg. Drew Ferry leads the attack for the Big Red with 13.8 ppg, though he struggled mightily in the win over Princeton, scoring just two points 0-of-4 shooting. Chris Wroblewski averages 9.4 ppg but has been abysmal from the field, shooting just 30.4 percent for the year. Wroblewski does dish out 5.6 apg however, second to Rosen in the league. Freshman Galal Cancer averages just 6.3 ppg on the season, but exploded in Friday's win for 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting. Despite its struggles this season, Cornell takes good care of the basketball, leading the conference in turnover margin at plus-1.71.

Both teams are playing back-to-back games following wins in their Ivy League openers. Cornell has been impressive at home, giving them the slight advantage.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cornell 68, Penn 65

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