Cornell Big Red
Ivy League (21-9, 11-3)
Big Wins: 11/18 vs Loyola MD (82-72), 12/20 La Salle (79-70), 12/29 Boston University (89-59)
Bad Losses: 2/6 at Princeton (41-61), 2/20 at Yale (60-72), 2/28 at Harvard (70-71)
Last NCAA Appearance: 2008, First Round loss to Stanford
Coach: Steve Donahue (0-1 in 1 NCAA appearance)
Why They Can Surprise:
Cornell is not shooting as well as they did last year in most categories, but Coach Steve Donahue’s squad is still an efficient team that will make a high percentage of their attempts, especially from beyond the arc. And few players in the nation hit as many long balls as Ryan Wittman. The 6-6 forward hits 3.1 three-pointers per contest and connects on 41.9 percent of his attempts.
The shooting gets better in the backcourt with Geoff Reeves and Chris Wroblewski. Both Reeves and Wroblewski shoot over 41 percent from beyond the arc. Those are some very impressive numbers. Reeves has emerged as a quality scorer, but the 6-4 junior needs to be more aggressive getting to the basket. He is a superb free-throw shooter, but rarely gets to the line. Wroblewski has not had the most consistent freshman campaign, but he is a capable scorer who will do more than just shoot the long ball. Those two have both started at the shooting guard spot, but no matter who starts, the Big Red needs them to produce.
Why They Can Disappoint:
The deficiencies in the frontcourt were quite obvious during last year’s NCAA Tournament when the Lopez twins and Stanford dominated Cornell. This is pretty much the same group, but with another year of experience. That has turned the Big Red into a better rebounding team, but can they match-up physically against another team with a quality big man or two? At 7-0 and 245 pounds, senior Jeff Foote certainly does not lack any size. He is a good scorer, rebounder and shot blocker, but what happens when he needs a break? Alex Tyler, Brian Kreefer and Adam Wire do not have the size to compete with some opposing forwards.
Who To Watch:
Louis 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 nearly four rebounds per game and can use his quick hands and feet to swipe a steal or two. 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.
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.1 (68th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.3 (88, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.7 (28, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.3 (75, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (47, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 41.5 (3, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 73.4 (36, 2)
Rebound Margin: 3.1 (78, 1)
Assists Per Game: 15.7 (32, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.0 (88, 1)
Louis Dale, Junior, Guard, 13.5 ppg, 3.6 apg, 4.3 rpg
Geoff Reeves, Junior, Guard, 9.1 ppg, 1.4 apg
Ryan Wittman, Junior, Forward, 18.5 ppg, 2.7 apg, 3.6 rpg
Alex Tyler, Junior, Forward, 6.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg
Jeff Foote, Senior, Center, 11.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.1 bpg
Brian Kreefer, Senior, Forward, 3.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Adam Wire, Sophomore, Forward, 3.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg
Chris Wroblewski, Freshman, Guard, 6.7 ppg, 2.6 apg
Following the final Bracket announcement, more team info will be added, including final RPI, final team statistical rankings, Joel's prediction, and more!