March 18, 2008

Selection Sunday Preparation

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March 16, 2008

Even before Newman Nation rushed the court on March 1, Cornell basketball fans were waiting for yesterday’s selection show. All the talk about seeding, locations and possible upsets whirled through my head – and many others – consistently. Cornell’s 20-year exclusion from the selection show was halted yesterday as Greg Gumble announced the Red as one of the NCAA Tournament’s 14-seeds.

The blogs that I will be writing daily until the Red are no longer in competition, will look at the whole NCAA tournament experience inside out.

I spent the whole day prior to the Selection Show watching conference tournament finals. With upsets happening all around, (Georgia won the SEC Tournament, Temple won the A-10 Tournament) the likelihood of the Red getting a quality seed seemed more and more likely. As I jumped in the car with juniors Jason Battle and Jeff Foote and sophomores Louis Dale and Andre Wilkins, the talk about seeds was all the hoopla.

“Penn got an 11-seed the last time they swept the Ivies”
“Siena won the MAAC conference and we beat them, so we have to have a better seed than them.”

I feel like every factor in the Red’s seeding was mentioned in that car ride to Moakley House at the Robert Trent Golf Course.

When we finally arrived around 5 p.m., there was a sense of excitement that makes even the most word-wise journalist struggle for description. The thoughts of Louisville, UConn, Pittsburgh were scary but not necessarily unwelcome. The thought of Drake, Butler or Washington State were even more tantalizing.

Most of the players had wings or pizza as we waited for the Big 10 and SEC conference championship games to finish. As the games and dining came to an end, junior Conor Mullen handed out the napkins, Jenna (junior Brian Kreefer’s girlfriend) handed out the hand sanitizer, the cameras were on and all eyes set on the television screen.