November 19, 2003

Creating Red Hoop Heaven

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Ever wonder what it’s like to see your school on SportsCenter? Better yet, want to know what it’s like to see yourself on SportsCenter? Well, dear Cornellian, now you’ll have your chance.

This Sunday, the men’s basketball team will open its 105th season with a home game in Newman Arena. The opponent? Georgia Tech. It will be the first time an ACC team will be in Newman Arena since 1991. And you should be there, too.

The game will be nationally televised on CSTV, the eyes of the college basketball nation will be on Ithaca, and hopefully — hopefully — the stands will be packed. This is where you come in.

If you haven’t already guessed, it’s a really big deal for an Ivy League team to play host to an ACC team. Oh, there’s no shortage of ACC-Ivy matchups this year. Brown and Yale will both square off against Wake Forest this season. For the last two seasons, the Red played Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

But none of these games are home games for the Ivy squad. Sunday’s game is a home contest for the Red. What would be better than coming to Newman and watching the Red pull off the upset?

Coming to Newman and watching the Red pull off the upset and being on SportsCenter.

Because this game will be televised, a SportsCenter highlight is a good possibility. But, should the Red win, a SportsCenter highlight is all but guaranteed. The Yellow Jackets will be a serious national contender this season, and if they were to drop a game against a team in a mid-major conference coming off a less than stellar season, that would be earth-shattering news.

Now, I know what you’re saying. Cornell has been on SportsCenter before. During the Frozen Four last year, there was even a brief video feature on the hockey team shown the night before the first game. But I’m not talking about seeing a Cornell team on SportsCenter, I’m talking Cornell students on the Cornell campus.

Remember how cool it was last year when ESPN’s College GameDay originated from Franklin Field before the Harvard-Penn football game? Penn students certainly do. They took the opportunity to get their faces on national television — in no less than the highest-rated GameDay show ever.

And this year, it can be you. CSTV is bound to show plenty of Cornell fans, so what better way to portray our school than to be extra-rowdy come tip-off on Sunday afternoon. You can be the difference between a win and a loss.

Cornell head coach Steve Donahue certainly thinks so.

“This is a nationally televised game, so people all over the country will be watching it,” he told The Sun several weeks ago. “It would be great for recruiting if those kids could see a packed house.”

A packed house could have some great implications for the Cornell men’s basketball program. A win Sunday would be a tremendous jump-start for the season — it could give the Red enough momentum and confidence to carry it to the Ivy League title and an invitation to the NCAA tournament.

A win in front of a packed house on national television, though, could have awesome long-term benefits, though. Imagine you’re a stud high school junior somewhere in America. You’re thinking about playing in the Ivies, but you’re not sure. You see this game, you see how awesome Cornell is, and you decide this is the place for you. For the basketball program — for Cornell — it would be huge.

And who wouldn’t be proud to be a part of that?

Owen Bochner is a Sun Assistant Sports Editor. In the O-Zone will appear every other Wednesday this semester. Owen can be contacted at obb2@cornell.edu.

Archived article by Owen Bochner