Tuesday, December 24, 2013

News and Notes: Tuesday Edition

Below, news and notes for Tuesday...
The number of unbeaten Division I teams took a big hit last week with five teams losing for the first time.  The biggest of the losses was Saint Mary's 77-71 defeat to South Carolina in the first round of the Diamond Head Classic. Massachusetts lost 60-55 to Florida State.  The others were very close. Connecticut lost 53-51 to Stanford, Pittsburgh lost 44-43 to Cincinnati and Missouri lost to Illinois 65-64.Tennessee State escaped the ranks of the winless with a 108-85 victory against Fisk. One team -- Cornell (0-11)-- has yet to win a game this season.
Struggles at Boston College, Cornell tied to Steve Donahue
As a private institution, Boston College doesn’t have to reveal its coaches’ contracts and usually doesn’t. So only BC administration and people close to coach Steve Donahue know how much the buyout will cost to fire him.
When he was hired away from Cornell to replace Al Skinner, Donahue was lauded by many as an ideal fit in Chestnut Hill. Donahue had been the architect of Cornell’s brilliant run at the end of the last decade. In his last three years there, the Big Red went 72-21 (38-4 Ivy League). Donahue won three straight Ivy titles after decades of Penn-Princeton dominance in the Ancient Eight.
BC wasn’t the only school interested in Donahue when it hired him. Given BC’s high academic standards, hiring an Ivy coach seemed like a pretty good move.
But after a solid first season in 2010-11 that finished with a 21-13 record and trip to the NIT, the Eagles have fallen apart. Since then,
BC is 29-47 (11-24 ACC).
This year was supposed to be a turnaround year with potential for an NCAA tournament bid. Instead, BC is 4-8 with losses to Toledo and Auburn, and appears to be headed for another long year.
Ivy coaches have had mixed results in bigger jobs. Georgetown’s John Thompson III and Temple’s Fran Dunphy have thrived after success at Princeton and Penn, respectively, but both coaches changed their staffs and recruiting styles. Donahue took his Cornell staff with him and hasn’t been able to recruiting an ACC caliber roster.
While Boston College has struggled with Donahue, the Big Red have fared even worse without him. In the past three years, Cornell is 35-63. The Big Red (0-11) are the only team in Division I without a win this season (several schools only have wins over non-Division I teams).
If BC is willing to pull the trigger to start over, it’s fair to wonder if Cornell and Donahue might reunite.
  • Hoosier Hoops Report writes of Purdue, "When Errick Peck and Rapheal Davis finally come out of their funk this will be a really fun team to watch." 
  • Below, the weekly Ivy Awards.  Here is a link to this week's award winners. 
IVY LEAGUE AWARD WINNERS 2013-2014
 
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Wk 1 Nov 11-Tony Hicks, Penn/Justin Sears, Yale
Wk 2 Nov 18-Sean McGonagill, Brown/Javier Duren, Yale
Wk 3 Nov 25-Maodo Lo, Columbia
Wk 4 Dec 2- T.J. Bray, Princeton/Wes Saunders, Harvard
Wk 5 Dec 9-Wes Saunders, Harvard
Wk 6 Dec 16-T.J. Bray, Princeton (Cornell no games)
Wk 7 Dec 23-Siyani Chambers, Harvard

ROOKIES OF THE WEEK

Wk 1 Nov11-Robert Hatter, Cornell
Wk 2 Nov 18-Norman Hobbie, Brown
Wk 3 Nov 25-Leland King, Brown
Wk 4 Dec 2- Robert Hatter, Cornell
Wk 5 Dec 9-Spencer Weisz, Princeton
Wk 6 Dec 16- Spencer Weisz, Princeton (Cornell no games)
Wk 7 Dec 23-Luke Petrasek, Columbia
  • Cornell RPI Watch: The RPI (Rating Percentage Index) is a measure of strength of schedule and how a team does against that schedule. It does not consider the margin of victory, but only whether or        not a team won and where the game was played (home/away/neutral court). The formula is 25% team     winning percentage (WP), 50% opponents' average winning percentage (OWP), and 25% opponents' opponents' average winning percentage (OOWP). (See: CollegeRPI.com for a further explanation of the formula.) The RPI may be the most influential factor in NCAA Tournament seeding. Cornell's RPI rank as of December 24, 2013 is No. 336 out of 344 total Division I teams. While neither the Ken Pomeroy or the Sagarin Rankings (USA Today) are used by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, the KenPom.com site ranks Cornell No. 342 in the nation, while the Sagarin Rankings (USA Today) have Cornell at No. 345. Both sites are predominantly used by fans and the media.
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11 comments:

Anonymous said...

For as patient as Andy Noel is, he's got to be licking his chops right now...Cornell's current crop of talent combined with Donahue's tactical expertise may be too much for the him to resist...

The Cornell Basketball Blog said...

I would not assume that Cornell wants Steve Donahue or that Steve Donahue wants Cornell.

Anonymous said...

This team's biggest problem is defense, and we happen to be ranked last in the country on that front.

Guess which team's DRAT is almost as bad as ours? Yup, Boston College. We all think fondly to the 2010 team, as we should, but Steve wouldn't be a savior to this squad. Though we would be improved, we would still struggle.

Anonymous said...

Boston College is indeed horrible this year, only about 50 teams better than us defensively. But picking an unusually bad year for Donahue and using it to insist he would be no better than Courtney is unfair. Donahue teams have always been middling defensive teams -- ~175 to 225 range -- but they were typically far better than his team this year, and middling defensive numbers obviously never stopped his later Cornell teams from winning.

Meanwhile, Bill Courtney was bottom 50 defensively last year and just absolute last this year. As with everything else, his best defensive numbers were in his first couple of years when the team was full of Coach D's guys. Shonn was a mighty defender who would doubtlessly have made a huge difference, but please let's not forget that this team was still getting blown out by good mid-majors when Shonn was health and Errick, Johnny, and Galal were still on the team. Shonn is just the difference between a bad team and a really, really bad team. Courtney is not a good coach and Donahue would be a far better option. That being said, I don't think he pulls a Cormier and comes back.

Boston College's problems are wierd because until this year they were following an understandable trajectory. He did well the 1st year. The 2nd year he was down to 1 scholarship player and did poorly. The 3rd year he improved significantly on the backs of freshmen and sophomores, taking the top two ACC teams to 1-point losses at home. This year people predicted them to be competitive but they started the year with losses to UMass and Toledo -- which look better in hindsight now that Toledo is still undefeated and UMass is ranked, but at the time looked terribly humiliating -- and they just never got better. I personally cannot figure it out, but a blanket assessment that Donahue could not improve on Courtney's mess does not seem a decent explanation to me.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else noticed that our starting lineup has not changed despite 0-11????

Anonymous said...

Courtney has simply failed to figure out what niche he wants to settle on. he has floundered and worse still has digressed each of his season's on the hill. had donashue had longer ties to cornell I could see him returning; but he does not so I would expect to see him gravitating back to philly somewhere. what cornell needs is a proven successful division 3 coach who comes from one of the strong liberal arts schools in the northeast to recruit kids who belong at cornell and can play the disciplined style of successful ivy programs. Rochester,amherst,williams etc should be where andy recruits his next coach

Anonymous said...

The 2008-10 run resulted from the fortuitous confluence of Ryan Wittman, Lou Dale and Jeff Foote upon Newman Arena. Of those three indispensible ingredients, only Wittman was recruited to Cornell by Donahue in any traditional sense of the word. Dale was essentially a walk-on who recruited himself and Foote was the closest thing to a random event that dropped into Cornell's lap.

Any title team needs a little luck so Cornell does not need to apologize for its three championship banners but, in this light, Donahue and Cornell were going nowhere in particular until the basketball gods dispensed good fortune in the form of Dale and Foote. Since then, Donahue and Cornell have separately gone nowhere in particular.

In the grand scheme of things, I don't see a lot of evidence that Steve Donahue can build a championship team, only successfully scratch off a lottery ticket.

Anonymous said...

Here's a novel idea.

New Starting lineup: (5) Giddens
(4) Tarwater
(3) Lamore
(2) Cressler
(1) Cherry

with everyone playing hard zone defense in the half court

Anonymous said...

Here's a novel idea.

New Starting lineup: (5) Giddens
(4) Tarwater
(3) Lamore
(2) Cressler
(1) Cherry

with everyone playing hard zone defense in the half court

Anonymous said...

"Donahue and Cornell were going nowhere in particular until the basketball gods dispensed good fortune in the form of Dale and Foote."

This is a popular opinion amongst those who followed Cornell only during the big 3. Those who followed Cornell earlier than that know this opinion is wrong.

Before the Big 3 showed up, Donahue had pulled Cornell into the top half of the Ivy, including two years of top 3 finishes. These top half finishes combined with 2 ROYs (pre-Dale's ROY) in three years showed a clear improvement in both talent AND performance. Cornell had established itself as a legitimate contender within the league.

I will admit that Foote might have been the key to national relevance but Donahue had established Ivy relevance before Foote, Witt, and Dale even showed up.

I do not characterize going from the cellar to the top 3 of the Ivy even before the big 3 showed up as "going nowhere" or accomplishing nothing.

Read that book by that reporter, "Outside the Limelight", about Ivy League basketball. It was written in the season before Wittman and Dale showed up, i.e. the season where Gore was ROY. The author gave interviews where she predicted that Cornell could win the title in the near future... at a time when no one had even heard of Wittman.

TJ said...

I like Cressler at the 2. But I can't see Lamore at the 3. And I don't see a potential 3 on our roster. I also like Hatter at the 1. My lineup would be:
5. Giddens
4. Onuorah
3. Cressler
2. Scelfo
1. Hatter
We need to find a lineup that will score some points.