Friday, March 26, 2010

cornell falls short

Well the Cornell basketball team didn't quite make it, losing to Kentucky 62-45 and failing to make it to the "Elite Eight" of college basketball. Notwithstanding a brilliant start and a brief second-half rally, the Big Red were simply overwhelmed by Kentucky's size, speed, and aggressiveness, at one point suffering a 30-6 run that brought to mind Penn's experience against Magic Johnson's Michigan State team in the Final Four thirty years ago. Perhaps sensing the inevitable, ESPN switched to the Kansas State-Xavier game shortly after halftime and stayed there.

One interesting aspect of the coverage was the assumption that Kentucky had the physical talent but Cornell was "smarter" and/or more disciplined, presumably because of its Ivy League status. I wonder. I went to Cornell in the 70s, and there were plenty of people who hung out in the gym or at fraternity parties: they had many virtues but intellectual prowess was not necessarily among them. Moreover the virtues of the Kentucky team--persistence, determination, the ability to change strategies when confronted with a different opponent--struck me as more or less the things that I would identify with, well, intelligence in the real-world if not the test-taking sense. DeMarcus Cousins, a Kentucky freshman, was quoted as saying that the game would not be a "spelling bee." The way he and his teammates played, if it had been, they probably would have won.


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