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Jeff Eisenberg

Cornell's got a full 'passion bucket' ... and a good sense of humor

If Cornell's surprising NCAA tournament run ends Thursday night against Kentucky, it certainly won't be because the Big Red were overwhelmed by the moment.

In fact, Cornell is so loose that players have taken to dropping an inside joke into each of their pre-game news conferences.

Check out 7-foot center Jeff Foote and point guard Louis Dale trying in vain to keep a straight face on Wednesday after fellow senior Ryan Wittman uses the phrase "passion bucket" while answering a reporter's question. For those unfamiliar with the reference, it's a cliche that Dan Patrick often makes fun of on his radio show.

This was the third time in a week Cornell has giggled in the face of a national TV audience.

Last Thursday, Foote answered a question about the school's academic requirements by talking about the police escort the team had on the ride to the arena. He later explained he had lost a bet with a teammate earlier in the day and had to answer the first question incorrectly.

Three days later, Dale's teammates huddled around the TV in the locker room after Cornell beat Wisconsin waiting to see if he could work in a famous quote from the movie "Friday Night Lights." Sure enough, Dale didn't disappoint, telling reporters, "We've got eight seniors on this team, and we want to take this ride as long as we can because after this it’s just nothing but babies and memories."

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