I am going to gush about Cornell Basketball for a while. Feel free to skip to the junk.
Well, this first weekend of the NCAA tournament was one for the ages for mid-majors. No fewer than 5 teams from outside the power conferences advanced to the sweet 16: the 5th seeded Butler Bulldogs, the 6th seeded Xavier Musketeers, the 9th seeded Northern Iowa Panthers, the 10th seeds St. Mary's Gaels and the 12th seeded Cornell Big Red. The highlight for most folks was probably Northern Iowa's stunning upset of Kansas, but I'm going to focus on my alma mater, Cornell.
What happened this weekend was truly special. Cornell became the first Ivy League team to make the sweet 16 since the tournament expanded to 64 teams, and they did so in dominant fashion. If you missed Cornell's dissections of Temple and Wisconsin, you missed some of the most beautifully executed offensive basketball I have ever seen, as Cornell shot 56% and then 61% against two teams noted for their defense. There have been plenty of Cinderella stories in the tourney but I don't know if there's ever been a 12 seed this utterly dominant in two upsets. Certainly not an Ivy League team. It was absolutely a weekend for the ages, and I can't even begin to explain how hard I would have laughed if you'd told me this would happen 5 years ago while I was there at Cornell watching them lose to Colgate in any empty gym. Surreal.
Next up for Cornell is a matchup against the "amateur" team from Lexington, Kentucky. It will be billed as the ultimate matchup of amateur vs. "amatuer," egghead vs. 1 and done, "all that is good with collegiate sports" vs. "John Callipari is a cheater." The game is this Thursday in Syracuse, about an hour from Cornell's campus, and I am hoping to make the trip.
BTW, congrats to all the other teams in the sweet 16, including g-love's Orange
and Cab's Huskies