Cornell and Duke in 2008.
Next up for Duke is Cornell. The Big Red aren’t what they used to be under Steve Donahue, but that was really an exceptional era for an Ivy.
This year’s bunch is 4-6 to date, with losses to St. Bonny’s, St. Peter’s Wisconsin, Arizona State, Stony Brook and Vandy.
None of them were terrible except for a 33 point loss to the Badgers.
Cornell does have a deep rotation, with nine guys getting double-digit minutes and one guy not far off from that.
They’re averaging 64 ppg, 35 boards, 12 assists and 15 steals.
They’re bigger than the average team you might see at Christmas, with one 6-11 guy, four at 6-9, and four guys between 6-7 and 6-8.
Cornell also has some great names on the roster: two guys named Cherry, from different states, one guy named Tarwater, one named Nenad Tomic and finally one Galal Cancer. His bio starts “Cancer had a strong rookie campaign..” Not much you can do about your name, really.
There’s also not much you can do when you are outmatched talent-wise, coaching-wise and on the road.
We should point out, though, that Cornell had a very nice comeback at Vanderbilt after being down 19 in the first half, but not enough to pull off the upset. But they did get within two.
Still, we respect Cornell. The Ivy League made their stand a long time ago and chose academics.
Only a handful of schools really – Duke, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Stanford, Davidson, Vanderbilt and a few others – have managed to maintain academics, athletics and integrity. Cornell should be welcomed and admired.
For Duke, we’ll see our first competitive glimpse of Marshall Plumlee. Before he was injured, Coach K considered him the sixth man, so obviously he’s made great strides, although a bit of rust won’t be surprising.
And actually, rust is the biggest concern: after an extended break for exams, it’s not uncommon for a team to be disjointed when they get back on the court. Practice is fragmented and inconsistent.
That said, it should very much work to Seth Curry’s favor as a good rest is probably just what his shin needs.
As for Duke, what they probably need is to incorporate MP3 and continue to define roles. Stay tuned.