Friday, February 17, 2012

Sports Network Predicts Cornell at Penn

Get all the information you need about the Cornell Big Red's games vs. Penn (Friday, February 17, 7 pm) and Princeton (Saturday, February 18, 6 pm), with The Cornell Basketball Blog's Game Preview Center. Below,the Sports Network's game prediction for Cornell at Penn...

Cornell (10-12) at Penn (17-8)

The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Friday, February 17th, 7:00 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: The Palestra (8,700) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: None. Home Record: Cornell 9-2, Penn 7-6. Away Record: Cornell 1-10, Penn 6-4. Neutral Record: Cornell 0-0, Penn 0-1. Conference Record: Cornell 5-3, Penn 5-2. Series Record: Penn leads, 144-73.

GAMES NOTES: With each team neck and neck in the conference standings, Cornell and Penn will meet in an Ivy League rematch this evening at The Palestra in Philadelphia.

In the first meeting this season, Penn downed Cornell on its home floor by double digits with a 64-52 victory. The win was 144th for the Quakers in 217 all-time meetings with the Big Red, although Cornell had won three straight and seven of the previous eight matchups.

Cornell is currently riding a season-long win streak that now stands at three games after defeating Brown last Saturday. The three wins have vaulted Cornell up the standings and with a 5-3 record in the Ivy League the Big Red are just a half game back of Penn for third place. Cornell will be on the road against Princeton in the second half of this weekend's back-to-back action.

Penn has alternated wins and losses in its last four outings, that coming on the heels of a four-game win streak that closed out the month of January. The Quakers are now 5-2 in conference and trail Yale by half a game for the second spot in the Ivy League standings. Penn's will host Columbia tomorrow.

It was a tight game early, but Cornell eventually pulled away in posting a 72-63 win over Brown its last time out. The Big Red shot exceptionally well from beyond the arc, netting 12-of-23 three-point shots to go along with 47.1 percent shooting overall. On defense, Cornell held Brown to 39.0 percent shooting, which included a 8-of-22 showing from three-point range.

Cornell has ridden its offense to much of its success this season, as limited as it may be. The Big Red are the second-highest scoring team in the Ivy League with 66.7 ppg, despite shooting just 41.4 percent from the floor. The defense hasn't been as sturdy as the Big Red allow 67.8 ppg. Drew Ferry (11.4 ppg) and Chris Wroblewski (10.6 ppg. 4.5 rpg, 5.5 apg) are the only players averaging double figures for Cornell, with the two combining for 27 points in last week's clash with Brown. Wroblewski has made major contributions as a set up as well, dishing the third-most assists per game in the league this season. If the Big Red is going to contend for the Ivy League crown it will need more performances like that put forth by Jonathan Gray (8.3 ppg), who nearly doubled his season scoring average by pouring in 16 points to go along with a team-high nine rebounds last time out. Freshman forward Shonn Miller (9.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg) is normally the team's leader on the boards.

Penn played a surprisingly tight game in its last matchup, as the Quakers only managed to get by last-place Dartmouth by three points with a 58-55 victory. Zack Rosen came up huge in the clutch, knocking down a three-pointer with just three seconds remaining to give the Quakers the win.

Rosen has been huge all season for Penn, averaging a team-high 18.0 ppg. The senior guard is at the top of another statistical category in the league, as he dishes out 5.8 apg as well. Tyler Bernardini, another senior guard, partners with Rosen to form one of the better scoring duos in the conference by averaging 14.3 ppg, which is fifth-best in the conference. Bernardini also leads the team on the glass by pulling down 5.2 rpg. The pair were the only two in double figures against Dartmouth last week, and combined for 27 points while taking half of the team's total shots by going 11-of-27 from the floor. Miles Cartwright (10.1 ppg) has also shown the ability to score effectively this season. Penn as a whole is just a step behind Cornell in terms of scoring offense, putting up 66.6 ppg while shooting 44.0 percent from the floor, which are both the third-best marks in the league this season.

Penn hasn't had much of a home court advantage this season with just a 7-6 record. However, The Quakers are 3-1 at home against Ivy League foes, with the lone loss coming against first-place Harvard earlier this month. Expect Rosen and Bernardini to continue to score well, as Penn blows past the Big Red.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Penn 71, Cornell 63

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