Syracuse, NY (WBNG Binghamton)
Maybe it's just me, but the comparisons between Cornell and the fictional Hickory Huskers of the movie Hoosiers are unavoidable.
A coach from Ithaca runs his practices without a ball, and in the championship tournament faces a team that is bigger stronger and more athletic.
Now the ending is of course what Big Red fans hope will be the same.
Cornell faces the all-time winningest program in college basketball history, and the magic of the matchup isn't lost on Cornell's bench boss.
Coach Steve Donahue says, " But obviously when you have three or four first-round NBA picks and you're an Ivy League school with obviously different goals professionally afterwards, there's a little different feeling with your teammates how you're going to approach this game. "
Like the coach in Hoosiers, coach Donahue has been asked about his future with his team.
Like coach Norm Dale, he's been non-committal about next season.
Now to the business of winning.
The Big Red took the floor for practice today in the Carrier Dome.
Action Sports reporter Justin Horowitz is in Syracuse and talks with both teams about how the game will be won, or lost.
The Big Red took the floor for practice Earlier today, and they were just as they've been all season, loose and having the time of their lives.
The rest of the country is calling them Cinderella. But the Big Red "geek squad" is right where they expected to be.
Senior Alex Tyler says, " Sweet 16 was the goal from the beginning of the year. Now that we are here. I don't think we're ready to stop."
The Big Red has trailed for less than three minutes combined during its first two games, but Cornell is walking into a big blue monster. Kentucky has won seven national championships and features a roster full of future NBA stars.
Senior Jon Jacques says, " It's our job to not take bad shots and not make any unforced errors, because that's what all those kind of teams feed off of."
Guard Chris Wroblewski adds, " A team like Kentucky where their guards are so quick. I think that team kind of feeds off transition."
Cornell shot nearly 60% in Jacksonville and ran its motion offense with military like precision. And make no mistake. Kentucky has taken notice.
Kentucky forward Daniel Orton says, " Execution more than anything. They just keep their plays and it's how well they run their plays."
Guard DeAndre Liggins adds, " If we don't gamble we will be fine. But if we gamble there to make us pay. It's a team that's going to make you pay if you do anything wrong."
It's been 31 years since the Ivy League has played this late in the season and the Big Red isn't done making memories just yet.
Wroblewski says, " I think we want this more than anyone can imagine, some on the outside were staying loose and everything but deep inside we don't want this to end. It's kind of special."
Since 1985, only 112 seed has advanced past the round of 16 and as John Jaques acknowledges on paper, Cornell beating Kentucky would be a monumental upset. But he added inside the big red locker room, it is expected.
With Cornell in the East regional Justin Horowitz action sports.