First, it was talk of whether the Ivy League could — gasp! — actually have the caché to send two of its teams to the NCAA tournament.
It had never been done before.
It's not going to happen this year, either. That dream died after Cornell embarassed Harvard in Ithaca three weeks ago.
Then came storyline No. 2. Cornell going on the road and suffering the worst loss imaginable: falling against three-win Penn. That loss came on the same night Princeton defeated Columbia to improve 5-0 in the Ivy. It set up a suddenly huge tilt last Saturday, wherein Cornell was playing at Jadwin Gymnasium with the possibility of falling two games behind the Tigers. It would have/could have been a massive blow to the gut.
For 24 hours, the Big Red's NCAA hopes were very much in doubt.
Oh how quickly things have changed. The Big Red held off Princeton last weekend to even both teams in the loss column (at one apiece) and took the lead in the conference by virtue of a tiebreaker.
Making matters better for the Big Red, Princeton fell at home yesterday to a 10-17 Brown team, dropping the Tigers to 7-2 in conference. Pairing that result with Cornell's wins over Harvard and Dartmouth on Friday and Saturday, the Big Red still remain in control. Top of the Ivy League looks like this:
The only drama that remains is the rematch of Tigers-Big Red, which happens Friday in Ithaca. If Cornell wins, you can just about lock up the automatic berth right then and there in Newman Arena. If it loses, the teams would be tied in the standings, and if they ended the Ivy season with a tied record, there would be a one-game playoff to determine the league winner. That would be awesome.
Here's last night's press conference from Princeton head coach Sydney Johnson, along with Marcus Schroeder and Kareem Maddox.