NCAA Tournament: Cornell Plays Wisconsin in Enticing Second Round Game

Sam BlumCorrespondent IMarch 21, 2010

JACKSONVILLE, FL - MARCH 19:  Chris Wroblewski #3 of the Cornell Big Red drives past Lavoy Allen #24 of the Temple Owls during the first round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Jacksonville Veteran's Memorial Arena on March 19, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images


Going into Thursday's game against No. 5 seed Temple, the Cornell basketball program had never won an NCAA tournament game.

Heck, even the Ivy Leagues hadn't won a game since 1998. Now, things have changed.

The image of Cornell basketball has changed from an underdog to a serious contender.

If you watched their game on Thursday, you couldn't help but root for them. They won easily against a Temple team that plays a very tight defense and won because they shot lights—out. 

Cornell has a huge offensive attack with a senior leader in Louis Dale, a scoring threat in Ryan Wittman and a post presence with Jeff Foote.

With all of these offensive advantages, their swarming defense can be overlooked. 

Well enough about Cornell. Let's talk about Sunday and what to expect.

The matchup is No. 4 seed Wisconsin vs. No. 12 seed Cornell. Wisconsin comes into the game playing some of their worst basketball, as they lost in the first round of the Big 10 tournament to Illinois, then barely escaped a first round upset against Wofford.

Cornell, on the other hand, is playing some of their best basketball, winning 16 of their last 17. 

Wisconsin's profile includes quality wins against Maryland, Duke, Marquette, Ohio St., Purdue, Michigan St. and Illinois. They have one bad loss to Wisconsin—Green Bay. Additonally, they have also beaten six teams playing in the NCAA tournament. 

Cornell's profile isn't nearly as strong, though they did dominate the Ivy League and proved they can play with the big dogs by nearly beating Kansas and taking down Temple on Thursday.

They also have wins against Alabama and St. John's. Their only bad loss came to Penn on the road. 

Wisconsin, like Temple, plays a good defense. This matchup is similar to Thursday's, because if Cornell can come in and make shots and especially three's, then they will win. Cornell has been incredible at that, they lead the NCAA's by making about 43 percent of their long—range shots. 

The Badgers score about as many points a game as Cornell allows. This means the key is that Cornell keeps this game in the 60 to 70 point range. If they can do that, they have a shot.

What happened to Wofford was what was expected. Wisconsin got to play their type of basketball game and eventually took the game. 

Wisconsin has a balanced scoring attack, with four players averaging in double digits. Trevon Hughs and Jon Leuer both average 15 a game. 

Another key for Cornell will be to make Jeff Foote a factor. In the last game, Temple didn't have anyone to match up with Foote, who dominated. 

The Badgers also do not have a true center to match up with Foote.

The winner will play in Syracuse, NY vs. No. 1 seed Kentucky. Syracuse, NY is just a few miles away from Cornell's campus and is not that far away from Wisconsin. 

Game tips off at 2:50 p.m (est.) on CBS.