Thursday, March 18, 2010

Yes We Can

Cornell Coach Steve Donahue

With March Madness tipping off today I want to talk a little about basketball.

Cornell Basketball.

Just a few years ago, this program was really nowhere. I remember going to one Columbia-Cornell game at Levien Gym not too long ago where the Big Red almost failed to score 10 points in the first half.

But not only is Cornell in the tournament now, it's won the Ivy title three years in a row. Most experts believe that run will end next year with a big chunk of talented seniors about to graduate, but can anyone really quibble with what the Big Red have achieved?

I'll admit I was one of those people who thought the deck was impossibly stacked against everyone other than Penn and Princeton in Ivy basketball. Without a conference tournament or a break-up of the travel partner system, I didn't think we'd see a "non-P team" with the title in my lifetime. And yet, Cornell has now done it three years running without either of those conditions.

I think every Columbia fan, especially football fans, should take a good look at Cornell basketball right now. The team is living proof that no matter what your history or perceived permanent disadvantages to your program, things can change really quickly with the right group in place.

When it comes to talent and depth, the Columbia football team has already come a long way from where it was even five years ago. The next big step is developing the killer/winning instinct that many of us have talked about before. Judging by the way the Lions played and won the last two games of 2009, there is some reason to be optimistic about that as well.

I don't think too many readers of this blog think Columbia can't win the title because of some kind of supposed disadvantage it cannot overcome. But for those who do, Cornell serves as a reminder of what can be achieved.


At Fri Mar 19, 01:06:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, agree 100% with your sentiments, except for the comment that things can change really quickly with the right pieces in place. Cornell BB had losing records for the first 7 years Donohue was there.

At Mon Mar 22, 12:54:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with most of this, but I'm curious as to why you think the league would have more parity without the travel partner system? Does it really enhance the Ps' title chances that much?


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