Breaking down Cornell’s men’s and women’s 2017-18 schedules

Cornell has released the 2017-18 schedules for its men’s and women’s basketball teams.  Coach Brian Earl will look to improve upon last season’s 8-21 (4-10 Ivy, T-6th) record for the men, while coach Danya Smith looks to avoid an expected rebuilding year from last year’s 16-11 (7-7 Ivy, T-4th) squad that just missed earning a spot in the inaugural Ivy Tournament.

Coach Earl’s first season as a head coach was a challenging one.  Not only did he bring in a completely different style of basketball without any of his own recruits, but he had to confront defections and or injuries to three key members of his front court.  Heading into this season, the coach will be bringing a six-member recruiting class to campus.  With a second year in Earl’s more disciplined half-court systems and greater depth, the Big Red will try to move up the standings and earn a spot in the postseason Ivy Tournament.

The men will be playing a 27-game schedule, with five home games in its 13 game nonconference slate. The Big Red will start the season in Syracuse (ACC) on November 10. This year, the game will have more significance due to the fact that incoming Cornell first-year Jimmy Boeheim will be going up against his father, Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim.  Two days later, Cornell will have its home opener against Binghamton, looking to avenge last year’s 68-62 loss.  On November 16, the team will travel to Hamilton, N.Y., for the 129th meeting against Colgate (Patriot), and then visit UMass-Lowell (America East) on the 19th. Before Thanksgiving, the Red will be at home to meet the University of  Toledo (MAC) for only the second time in program history.

After three straight road games against Duquesne (Atlantic-10), Northeastern (Patriot), and Longwood University (Big South), Cornell will have home games against Lafayette College (Patriot) and Niagara University (MAAC) before Christmas.  Following the holiday, the team will head down to Delaware (CAA) and Auburn (SEC).  At the start of 2018, Cornell will host its yearly non-Division I contest, this season against Central Pennsylvania College.

The Red will open the 2018 Ivy schedule with three road contests against Penn, defending champion Princeton and Empire State rival Columbia.  Following three home games against the Lions, Dartmouth and Harvard, they will close out the first half of its conference schedule with visits to Brown and Yale.  Cornell will then have four straight home games against Princeton, Penn, Yale and Brown, before finishing the regular season with a trip to Harvard and Dartmouth on March 2 and 3.

In losing six players to graduation, including the entire starting five, this women’s team will return just 20 percent of the offense, 23 percent of the rebounds and 24 percent of its assists.  In her 16th season at East Hill, coach Smith will bring in five new players, but Laura Bagwell-Katalinich will have to sit out the season after transferring from Penn.  The Red also will bring in two new assistant coaches, including former Cornell guard Shelby Lyman (‘14).

The women start the season on November 10 and 12 with two road games against Loyola (MD) of the Patriot League and the University of Pittsburgh of the ACC.  The Red will, then, host six of their next seven games.  From November 16 through December 18 three more members of the Patriot League, (Colgate, Lehigh, and Lafayette), two from the America East (Stony Brook and Binghamton), and one from the Horizon (Oakland) will come to Ithaca, while Cornell will visit Canisius (MAAC).

Starting December 21, the Big Red will play 9 of its next 10 games on the road, including 5 of its first 6 conference games.   The team will travel to Drexel (CAA), New Hampshire (America East), UMass-Lowell (America East), and NJIT (Atlantic Sun) before tipping off league play with games against Penn, Princeton and Columbia.  They will return to Newman Arena on January 27 to complete the home-and-home series against the Lions before going back on the road to face Dartmouth and Harvard.

The team will finish off league play with six of its last eight games at home.  It’ll face Brown and Yale on February 9 and 10, before return contests against Princeton and Penn the next weekend.  Following the I-95 weekend against Yale and Brown, the Red will close out the schedule with Harvard and Dartmouth the first weekend of March.

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