Cornell getting more out of frontcourt this season

On November 30, Cornell headed into its Finals Break by beating Northeastern, 80-77, for its first home and second overall win of the season.  With the campaign set to resume on Saturday against 7-2 Wyoming, where do things stand for the 2-5 Big Red?

With the hiring of former Princeton player and associate coach Brian Earl, Cornell is moving away from the guard-oriented style that was favored by its previous coach. Since former coach Bill Courtney had only one recruit arriving at East Hill this fall, the new coach was going to have to work with the same team that was 10-18 overall and 3-11 in the Ivies last year.

Last year’s squad played at a fast tempo with pressure defense and one-on-one offense. This year’s team has attempted to slow down the pace on both sides of the ball while becoming a more balanced team that focuses on player and ball movement.

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Ivy Power Rankings – Dec. 5, 2016

This one Ivy League season has been worthy of a shrug. The funk began when Yale junior guard and Ivy Player of the Year candidate Makai Mason was declared out for the season due to injury, and it deepened when it became obvious that Harvard coach Tommy Amaker had more tinkering than expected to do with his impact freshman-heavy roster. Preseason favorite Princeton, meanwhile, got clipped at Lehigh and is 0-3 against higher-ranked teams in KenPom. And league losses to Binghamton (Cornell), Army (Columbia), Longwood (Dartmouth), Navy (Penn) and Bryant (Yale) have suggested that the league has a lot of room for improvement. As a result, the Ivy League has fallen from 14th in KenPom’s preseason Division I conference rankings to 18th in just three weeks.

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Ivy Power Rankings – Nov. 21, 2016

1. Yale (2-1)

Who outside of New Haven expected Yale to have this kind of start when then-Ivy Player of the Year candidate Makai Mason was declared out for this season with a foot injury?

And who expected Yale to gel so quickly after Ivy Rookie of the Year candidate Jordan Bruner reportedly suffered an ACL sprain earlier this month?

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Cornell falls to Colgate late, drops to 0-3

On Wednesday night, Cornell had its home opener against Colgate.  Coming into the contest, the Red had lost its first two games against Binghamton and Siena.  The Red Raiders arrived with a 0-1 record, courtesy of a 28 point loss to Syracuse.  The game was the 128th meeting between the upstate New York rivals, and the first matchup between coach Brian Earl of Cornell and coach Matt Langel of Colgate.  The two coaches were friendly rivals during their playing days, Earl at Princeton and Langel at Penn, and childhood friends going back to the eighth grade.

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Cornell Season Preview – The Big Red reset

What happened last year: (10-18, 3-11 Ivy) Cornell was projected to finish last in the league and did just that despite a 2-2 start to league play that included back-to-back wins over Harvard and Dartmouth fueled by freshman phenom Matt Morgan. With a nine-game Ivy skid doing the Big Red’s season in, coach Bill Courtney was dismissed after going 60-113 in six years in Ithaca.

What’s new: The coach, for one. Princeton playing legend and all-star assistant Brian Earl jumped at the opportunity to lead a program, taking over the reins from Courtney and poised to make the Big Red less frenetic at both ends of the floor over time. The team’s lone freshman, Josh Warren, reportedly brings with him a comfort level in the post that the Big Red often lacked last season, and he also brings with him a natural rivalry with Penn freshman Ryan Betley. (Warren and Betley both attended Downington West in Downington, Pa.) But as a Courtney recruit, Warren apparently prefers an up-tempo style, which leads us to …

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Cornell turns the corner in Red and White

On Saturday night, as the Lynah Faithful filled the hockey arena for a preseason contest against Brock University, a slightly more modest crowd populated Newman Arena to watch the Cornell men’s basketball team take part in the annual Red-White Scrimmage.  While the team did have three contests in Spain this AugustSaturday night’s event marked the unofficial beginning of the team’s 2016-17 campaign and the crowd’s first glimpse of its new coach, Brian Earl.

The Red team consisted of Darryl Smith, Donovan Wright, Matt Morgan, Will Bathurst, Josh Warren, Kyle Brown, and Joe Bayless, while the “White” squad had David Onuorah, Robert Hatter, Desmond Fleming, Stone Gettings, JoJo Fallas, and Jack Gordon.  On the sidelines for the scrimmage were Troy Whiteside, Jordan Abdur-Ra’oof, Braxston Bunce, Joel Davis and Pat Smith.  After two 12-minute halves, the “Red” team defeated the White by a score of 57-46.

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Cornell goes 3-0 in Spain summer tour

Cornell’s trip to Spain has been both a lot of bull and anything but.
Now that first-year students (Thanks, Princeton!) have arrived on North Campus and the upper class students have found their way over to West Campus and various other parts of Ithaca, it is time to have a short update on the Men of Earl.
After his hiring last April, Brian Earl kept Assistant Coach Jon Jacques, who will start his fourth year at his alma mater.  Donovan Williams came over from Princeton and Adam Gierlach arrived from Rice to join the program as assistants.

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Brian Earl: The right coach at the right time for Cornell

Princeton finished in the top three in the Ivy League eight straight seasons with Brian Earl as an assistant coach. The Tigers were the only Ivy team to do so in that span. (College Chalk Talk)

In 2010, Cornell Athletic Director Andy Noel took two weeks to hire Virginia Tech assistant coach Bill Courtney as the replacement for the enormously successful Steve Donahue. Following the Big Red’s run to the Sweet Sixteen and Donahue’s jump to Boston College, Noel selected the former Bucknell All-Patriot League player from a final group that included Wisconsin assistant coach Gary Close and then-Temple assistant and
present Colgate head coach Matt Langel.

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The issue of identity in Ithaca

Early in last Saturday’s broadcast of the Penn-Cornell game, Big Red announcers Barry Leonard and Eric Taylor recounted a recent conversation with coach Bill Courtney in which the coach was unsure of the identity of his team. After 22 games and in the throes of a four-game losing streak, what does this mean for the program going forward?

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