For the first two rounds of March Madness, John Thomas and Jonathan Weaver brought you their Upset Alert picks and their Game to Watch selections. Well the field is cut down to 16, and it is harder for the guys to pick two separate games to give you their best analysis. (Heck, most of those Upset Alerts at this point, would be the Games to Watch.) So they are going to try something different for the Sweet 16. We will give them one matchup a day, and John and Jonathan will have to state their case for why they think one team will win over the other.
We will get things kicked off today with the HUGE matchup out of the East Region. It’s the Kentucky Wildcats versus the Cornell Big Red. Take it away guys.
Why Cornell Will Win by Jonathan Weaver
C-I-N-D-E-R-E-L-L-A. I don’t have to tell our followers out there that this is the game to watch. Everyone of you already knew that. It’s a battle of the big, bad SEC versus the gentlemen from the Ivy League. I am here to tell you David can defeat Goliath and no matter what the outcome, the contrasting styles of play will make this a must-watch matchup.
The iron usually become unkind this time of year. Those shots that might have been falling earlier, don’t fall in the NCAA Tournament. Not so fast, say the Big Red of Cornell. The Ivy League Champions hit 8 of their first 10 shots and went 68% from the field in the first half in their first round game against Temple. The Big Red rolled 78-65. People counted the 12-seed out against a top-ranked defense like Wisconsin, saying there was no way that Cornell could continue to hit shots. Well they did just that by shooting 61% from the field and 53% from 3. The final score from that game wasn’t even close, in a 87-69 thrashing. Offense isn’t an issue with this team.
Cornell has to stay hot from behind the arc, and they led the nation in three point field goal percentage during the regular season. The Big Red need the sweet stroke more than ever against Kentucky. The Wildcats will try and run the Big Red up and down the court, but if the senior laden squad of Cornell can stop Kentucky’s big men, there could be another 1-seed upset. Kentucky has looked good in the tourney, so far, with wins by 29 and 30 points, but aren’t immune to bad nights. Keep Bledsoe and Wall out of the lane, and Cornell will be the first Ivy League team to reach the Elite 8 in the league’s history.
Why Kentucky Will Win by John Thomas
Kentucky made it the Sweet 16. Did you expect much different from arguably the most talented team in the nation? Kentucky, led by first-year head coach John Calipari, won their first two games of the NCAA Tournament in fashion that is like that of UConn on the women’s side, winning by at least 25 points or more. The Wildcats first two games of the tournament were almost laughable, but when you come to think of it, that’s exactly what they were laughers. Now you’re saying they have to play a 12 seed to advance to the Elite 8, and its an Ivy League school? Who made up this bracket? Granted, Cornell has played way beyond anyone’s expectations, including their own coach’s, but you honestly can’t think that they can beat John Wall and Co. Kentucky will win this game and advance to the Elite 8. Here’s why…
The biggest difference in why Kentucky advances and Cornell does not is the experience of the programs as a whole. This is Kentucky’s fifty-first appearance in the tournament, which include 13 Final Fours and seven national championships. Count them, seven..and thats over the last fifty-plus years. Kentucky has a storied history in college basketball that very few compare to.
Regardless of who is coaching the team or who even plays on the team now, it is the history of the program that carries this team and gives them a swagger that nobody else in college basketball has. Granted Cornell can play basketball, just ask Temple and Wisconsin, but Kentucky is a different animal. Coach Calipari recruits the type of players that will more than likely end up playing in the NBA rather than working toward an MBA. Along with Georgetown, who was ousted in the first round, Kentucky is one of the teams that could be disguised as an NBA team. In fact, I bet they could beat the New Jersey Nets.
When your most well-known player in John Wall isn’t even leading the team in points scored, you’re doing something right. Eric Bledsoe leads the whole team with a 21 point scoring average. Wall, the freshman, leads with nine assists per game and to complete the trifecta, DeMarcus Cousins in the power down low with eight rebounds and almost three blocks per game. Its the perfect storm in college basketball and lets not kid ourselves, the Ivy League champions, Cornell Big Red, have no chance of defeating the Kentucky Wildcats.
Kentucky moves on to the round of eight and Cornell goes home with its dignity.
The game between (12) Cornell and (1) Kentucky is the late tip-off of the evening. It is scheduled for 8:57 PM.