2008 NCAA Tournament Capsule: Cornell
Ivy League (22-5, 14-0)
Big Wins: 11/25 Siena (83-77), 2/1 at Brown (75-64), 2/1 Brown 74-65)
Bad Losses: 11/17 at Ohio (89-102), 12/1 Colgate (73-76), 12/19 at Bucknell (75-88)
Last NCAA Appearance: 1988, First Round loss to Arizona
Coach: Steve Donahue (First NCAA appearance)
Louis Dale, Sophomore, Guard, 13.8 ppg, 5.0 apg, 4.4 rpg
Adam Gore, Junior, Guard, 10.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Ryan Wittman, Sophomore, Guard, 15.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Alex Tyler, Sophomore, Forward, 8.2 4.3 rpg
Jason Hartford, Senior, Forward, 7.5 4.2 rpg
Geoff Reeves, Sophomore, Guard3.4 ppg, 1.5 rpg
Jason Battle, Junior, Guard, 2.0 ppg, 1.4 rpg
Brian Kreefer, Junior, Forward, 3.4 ppg, 1.3 apg
Jeff Foote, Junior, Center, 8.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.4 bpg
Why They Can Surprise:
Cornell’s shooting numbers are as close to perfect as anybody could hope. The team ranks first in the nation in free-throw shooting, third in three-point shooting and eighth in field-goal percentage. For a team that makes over eight three-pointers a game, shooting almost 49 percent from the floor is incredible.
Much of that superb shooting can be attributed to Ryan Wittman. The 6-6 wing makes three long balls per game and hits them 46.6 percent of the time. That is in the top ten in the nation. Adam Gore does not take as many shots, but he still shoots over 41 percent from long range. Gore also shoots 92.9 percent from the charity stripe and Louis Dale, who was leading the nation in free-throw percentage not along ago, also shoots over 90 percent.
Why They Can Disappoint:
It is unlikely that Cornell will get as many open looks in the NCAA Tournament as they did in the Ivy League, but the guards still might be able to keep Cornell in the game. Where the Big Red will suffer is in the frontcourt. It is not that Alex Tyler, Jeff Foote, Jason Hartford and Brian Kreefer form a bad frontcourt, but they have had little experience this year facing the type of big man they will see in March. The mid-season addition of Foote gives the team a much needed shot blocking threat and rebounder, but even the 7-foot transfer from St. Bonaventure will need to have a great game if Cornell wants to pull off an upset.
Who To Watch:
Dale is the guy who makes this team tick. The 5-11 point guard does a lot more than just find his teammates. He is a great scorer as well and will use his quickness to get to the basket. Even if he does not score from the floor, getting to the foul line is an automatic two points. Dale fills up the stat sheet and even grabs over four rebounds per game and can use his quick hands and feet to swipe a couple steals. The turnovers are a little high, but this is a team that likes to run and put points up in a hurry and they can certainly do that despite the occasional turnover.
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