Cornell Basketball: Big Red Looking to Make Big Splash in Big Dance

Jorge CastilloCorrespondent IMarch 18, 2008

Ah, March Madness. What an appropriate description.

It's madness all over. From conference tournament play to bubble talk to Selection Sunday and finally to the actual NCAA Tournament itself. Then, there's the madness of picking out my bracket.

Like all gutsy participants, I only fill out one bracket. I spend hours researching and ultimately second and triple guess my picks. But, on Tuesday afternoon, I finally was satisfied with my picks. Here, I'll be going into my top Cinderella pick, I'll post my Elite Eight predictions and so on in another article.

So on to my Cinderella pick. I actually don't have any team lower than a five seed in the Sweet Sixteen but if I were to really go out on the limb, I would go with the Cornell Big Red.

As a fellow Ivy League student (proud Yale Bulldog), this may seemed a little biased, and hell it is, but after seeing my Bulldogs crushed by the Cornell Big Red at home, I fell in love. While Yale may not be Stanford, the Bulldogs did hang around with Stanford (in Palo Alto mind you) and a couple other quality teams on the road.

Fueled by a solid trio in the backcourt—led by Ryan Wittman, son of Minnesota Timberwolves coach Randy Wittman—the Big Red swept through the Ivy League going 14-0 and have won 16 in a row following a tough loss to Duke at Cameron Indoor Jan. 6.

The only other team to sweep through conference play was Davidson, a popular Cinderella pick this year. 

Now Stanford may be a solid, top-of-the-line Pac-10 squad but Cornell has what the Cardinal arguably lack—good, consistent guard play. The Lopez twins anchor the middle, but besides Anthony Goods, no guard on the team averages more than seven points per game. On the other hand, Cornell has its trio of guards—Wittman, Louis Dale, and Adam Gore—averaging double figures, led by Wittman's 15.4 average. 

It will be tough but Cornell can get it done and upset the Cardinal. Well after picking them, I hope so.

Next, I have the Big Red against Marquette in the second round. I picked Marquette in my bracket but for the sake of this article, I'll take Cornell. I can see the boys from Ithaca falling into a zone and forcing this Marquette team to shoot, a big weakness for them.

Also, the Golden Eagles lack a consistent post presence on both ends. And, in the NCAA Tournament, the battle of guards can go either way; it all depends on who is shooting or able to penetrate well that day. Cornell can shoot the three with the best of them so an upset is not out of the question against this inconsistent Marquette club.

So there it is. I predict (probably with my heart more then my brain) that the Cornel Big Red will crash the Big Dance starting with a win in the battle of the smart kids in round one.