The following is a republished press release from Cornell Athletics and was NOT written by the Ithaca Voice … to submit community announcements to The Voice, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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ITHACA, N.Y. — For the second straight year, the Cornell men’s basketball team has been picked to finish eighth in the preseason media poll. For the second consecutive season, the Big Red intends to prove them wrong.
After being selected to finish eighth a season ago, the Big Red was one of the most improved teams in the country, finishing tied for fifth in the Ivy standings. This time, uncertainty with a roster that includes eight freshmen and the loss of three of last season’s top four scorers had the 17-member voting panel doubting Cornell in a loaded Ivy League that included three teams that received at least five first place votes – and with five-time defending champion Harvard Crimson slotted fourth.
Yale, which shared last season’s conference title with Harvard and lost in a one-game playoff with the Crimson, took five first place votes and 117 points overall to take the preseason poll. Columbia (114) and Princeton (108) weren’t far behind, and each actually had more first place votes than the Bulldogs with six apiece. Harvard rounded out the top half with 96 points. The Big Red received 25 points.
Two starters and five of the team’s top eight scorers, none of whom will be seniors, return to essentially make for a two-year team. Seniors Robert Mischler and Braxston Bunce will provide key leadership, while juniors Robert Hatter and David Onuorah will have a chance to become breakout stars. An incoming class of eight talented freshmen will have a chance to make their marks, as will sophomore standouts Jordan Abdur-Ra’oof, Wil Bathurst and Pat Smith.
After being picked to finish eighth in Ivy League the preseason a year ago, the Big Red improved its win total by 11 games and finished fifth en route to a 13-18 season.
Packing one of the nation’s top defenses, Cornell led the Ivy League in blocked shots (4.8 bpg.) and field goal percentage defense (.389), the latter ranking 18th nationally. Defense is again expected to be a calling card for the Big Red.
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