In all this weekend's Ivy League Eurphoria, it's been hard to find any sound analysis of the Cornell--Wisconsin game--mostly just a pep talk for underdog
But One Blogging Moment Here, before we get teary-eyed about this attractive team that we have all seen play just once. Be careful what you wish for and its effect on this tournament down the road.
Let's put aside Friday's inspiring game and move on to hard facts--
Cornell could very well win today, but to do so they must overcome a Wisconsin team that:
1. Has as many wins over top top 25 schools as any team in the country
2. Is one of only 7 schools to go to the Dance the last 12 years in a row
3. Has the LEAST turnovers in the nation
4. Third best overall defense in the nation
5. Point guard with the best assist-turn-over ratio
6. The Coach with the best winning percentage in Big Ten History
7. Conference Free Throw Champions
8. Have already beaten 7 teams in this tournament
9. Have held most opponents under 50 points of any team in the nation
11. Played one of their worst games of the year Friday and still won--sign of a champion--holding the opponent under 50-again.
10 Have the 18th best scoring differential in the nation, while only being 203rd in offense
In short, in every way, Wisconsin is a more experienced version of the team that beat Kansas last night. While it may not be fair, Cornell would be deer caught in the headlights for Kentucky, The Badgers' shut-down defense and refusal to rattle (they came back from 18 down in the 2nd half this year) could well put a scare into Kentucky's untested freshmen.
Be careful what you wish for--it will have huge ramifications for the Sweet 16. You'd like there to be a Cinderella Story, but in this year of upsets and carnage, The Dance has became a Chess Match. You need to start thinking three steps ahead when you start filling out fresh brackets on Monday