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Cornell vs. Kentucky
Will the Clock Strike Midnight For Cinderella?
It seems like an eternity has passed since the Kentucky Wildcats have been to the Sweet Sixteen. Itís probably fair to say that the 5 years that have passed since it last happened has been an eternity to the rabid Kentucky fan base. New Coach John Calipari is the one fans can thank for their return. His excellent class of freshman combined with the leadership of junior Patrick Patterson have made them nearly unstoppable. If they wish to advance to the Elite Eight they will have to get through the Cornell Big Red of the Ivy League. They have delivered two stunningly easy wins to advance this far in the Big Dance. Northern Iowa showed us that anything can happen when they dispatched Kansas in the second round, so donít count Cornell out.
Kentucky is a 9 point favorite at the largest sportsbook in the world
As the 12 seed in their region Cornell had no free ride in the first round. They had to play a very tough team in the Temple Owls who were the Atlantic 10 Champions. G Louis Dale had 21 points and 7 assists for the Big Red who shot 56.3% as a team. F Ryan Wittman added 20 points while going 4-6 from three point range. They were able to contain Lavoy Allen. He had just 5 rebounds which is less than half of what he averaged in the regular season.
Most pundits expected Cornell to be met with a much tougher challenge against the tough Big 10 defense of the Wisconsin Badgers. They were wrong again. Cornell shot in excess of 60% and out rebounded the Badgers en route to a 87-69 victory. G Louis Dale came up huge again with 26 points. F Ryan Wittman contributed 24 points. They were stellar from the free throw line sinking 13 of 16 attempts. Downing the Kentucky Wildcats will be a much larger task than defeating Temple or Wisconsin, but Cornell has certainly done nothing wrong thus far.
The Kentucky Wildcats assume the role of Big Bad Wolf after Kansas made an early exit in the second round. Their starting lineup includes three freshmen, two of which will be go in the top 5 of the NBA Draft and another that wonít be far behind. Junior Patrick Patterson is also highly regarded. The Wildcats were quick to step on the throat of East Tennessee State in their 100-71 win. Freshman Eric Bledsoe hit a Kentucky record 8 three pointers. Demarcus Cousins was relative silent, but the extra firepower he couldíve added wasnít needed.
The second round pitted the Wildcats against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The result was similar to their first round bout. Kentucky won easily 90-60. Relatively unknown G Darius Miller had a career night with 20 points. Demarcus Cousins was nearly flawless in this game draining 9-10 FGs for 19 points. He also had 8 rebounds. G John Wall had 14 points and 7 assists. It wouldnít be surprising to see him put up big numbers in this round of the Tournament. Patrick Patterson was slow with just 4 points on 2-6 shooting. He only played 19 minutes. The Wildcats need more help from him in the future.
The Cornell Big Red dominated the Ivy League and have looked strong in their first two games. Louis Dale and Ryan Wittman have played lights out. They will have to do even better this time around to down the giant that is Kentucky. They had the lead late in the game at Kansas during the regular season so it certainly isnít impossible to win here. We have seen very good Princeton teams from the past, hang with the big boys for half a game before the bench got them in trouble and suspect we may see something similar here.
Cornell can play with any team in the country for a half, which may be the better wager here. So we'll take Cornell +5 in the 1st half here, and then we'll take Kentucky -9 for the game as we think they will be too much for Cornell as the 2nd half progresses. We'll be rooting for Cornell though. They truly are this years "Cinderella".
Predicted Score - Kentucky 75 Cornell 60