Image: Copyright Cornell University
There are times when the unimaginable happens. When even the biggest sports fan can't help but shake their head in disbelief. The unplanned, the unthinkable... the unbelievable.
Sunday, such an event manifested itself into fruition, as an Ivy League school made it's way to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1979. The team was Penn, and this '79 wasn't any 'ol team either. That Ivy dream team of sorts went to the final four, the same year that Magic Johnson's Michigan State team played against Larry Bird's Indiana Hoosiers. The 1979 series went down as one of the most famous NCAA Championships of all time.
What makes Ivy League teams different then others? Ivy League schools do not hand out athletic scholarships. Athletes who attend and play for Ivy League institutions are left to pay for their own education. Wither they are able to earn merit scholarships for good grades, is left to their own accord. Hence why top athletes looking for athletic scholarships overlook Ivy League programs.
Bringing us back to Cornell, this is the third year in a row they've won the Ivy League title and gone to the NCAA tournament. Remember the NCAA selection committee chooses one Ivy League team per year. Cornell beat the four seeded Wisconsin on Sunday. Thus, they progress to the sweet sixteen, fine and dandy. However, this is the first time in school history that they've won a tournament game, much less danced their way into the third round. On a roll? To say the least.
Tonight, Cornell will match wits with the University of Kentucky, who has won seven NCAA Championships. We've previously discussed the "David and Goliath" stories. This truly is the ultimate D&G scenario.
Henceforth, we embark into a sea of 16, let's meet our David...
(12) Cornell Big Red
Last Game: Mar 21 vs. (4) Wisconsin, Win 97-69
Next Game: Mar 25 vs. (1) Kentucky, 9:57 pm (est), Eastern Regional Semifinals
Season Record: 29-4
Coach: Steve Donahue (9th year as head coach)
Star Players: Ryan Wittman (son of Randy Wittman who played for notable coach Bob Knight in Indiana and also in Cleveland, he played for the Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves). Jeff Foote (center), Louis Dale
Conference: Ivy League
Location: Ithaca, NY
Colors: Carnelian Red and White
Notable Fact: Cornell scores the majority of their shots in the 3 point shooting range. The only way they'll be able to even score with Kentucky is if they hit their shots, and make loads of threes!