InsideMizzou.com's early look at Cornell

InsideMizzou.com will take several looks at the Tiger's first round opponent Cornell. We will cover the Cornell press conference and will bring you the latest on what the Big Red thinks of their game with the University of Missouri. In this story, one of our staff experts takes an early look at Cornell. Go inside for the latest on the team the Mizzou Tigers will take on Friday at 2:00 p.m.

When the average college basketball fan thinks of an ivy league team in the NCAA tournament, they think of a slow-paced, methodical offensive attack.

Thanks to longtime Princeton coach Pete Carril and his backdoor offense, this is what many Tiger fans first thought of when they saw Cornell pop up as the number-14 seed opposite of the Tigers.

However, instead of seeing a team who will want to keep the game in the 40's or 50's like Carril's teams, the Big Red of Cornell are at their best the higher the score climbs.

In the 12 games this season in which Cornell has registered over 75 points, they are 11-1. On the season, Cornell averages over 70 points per game.

Offensively, Cornell is led by 6-foot-6 junior forward, Ryan Wittman. Wittman is the prototypical Ivy League player as he makes his living from behind the arc.

On the season, Wittman averaged 18.5 points per game with nearly half of those points coming from three-point land.

Also averaging double-figure scoring for the Big Red are senior Jeff Foote and junior Louis Dale. Foote is a seven-foot senior who averages around 12 points and seven rebounds per game.

Foote makes his living around the bucket as he has not attempted a three-pointer all season and shoots just 64-percent from the charity stripe. Foote is also a presence on the defensive end where he averaged over two blocks per game.

Dale is a 5-foot-11 junior guard who will be charged with handling the Missouri pressure. On the season, Dale averaged 13.5 points but had an assist to turnover ratio of less than 2:1.

Unlike the other guards for Cornell, Dale does most of his damage off the dribble and will have to be kept out of the paint by the Missouri defense.

Rounding out Cornell's top five are guards Geoff Reeves and Chris Wroblewski. Reeves is 6-foot-5 while Wroblewski stands 6-foot-1.

Both Reeves and Wroblewski shoot over 40-percent from three-point range while scoring over half their points from deep.

The keys to Cornell hanging with the Missouri Tigers are how they handle Missouri's defensive pressure, their three-point shooting and staying out of foul trouble. As a team, Cornell averages 11 turnovers per game and routinely plays eight players.

For the Missouri Tigers to take care of business, they need to stay out of foul trouble and defend the three-point line. The Tigers have the depth to withstand foul problems, but the Big Red can be deadly from the free-throw line as they have three starters that average over 80-percent from the charity stripe.

One downfall of Missouri's trapping style is that it sometimes leaves shooters open as the ball is moved out of a trap.

If the Tigers are to limit Cornell's open looks, they will have to close-out quickly on shooters and force them to put the ball on the floor and make a play against the athletic Tiger defense.


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