In what surely serves as a nice reprieve from Ithaca Death Watch 2010, Cornell University has astounded many sports fans and alumni by advancing to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA men’s basketball finals and will play the University of Kentucky tonight.

This is surprising news from a school not exactly known for its athletic prowess. As alumnus Orlando Soria said earlier in the tournament:

Is it weird that I kind of want to go to Gym Bar on Thursday to watch Cornell basketball? Watching sports in public with former classmates is a privilege normally reserved for people who went to one of those Southern schools that have actual sports teams.

Well it’s a little weird, if only because Cornell has so little tradition of this kind of thing.

Kentucky is favored to win. The odds of Cornell winning, in fact, are like 60 to 1. Kentucky has already won seven NCAA titles. Cornell has only won two NCAA tournament games.

Full disclosure: I graduated from Cornell in 2003.

Update: Kentucky won, 62-45.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer