Columbia comes into this matchup with some positive momentum after splitting last weekend's northern jaunt up to Hanover and Allston. The more impressive performance for the Lions came in the loss to Harvard, a game Columbia trailed by two with only minutes remaining. Barbour continues his impressive run through the league as the conference's leading scorer and Cisco is right on Mangano's heels as one of the league's top rebounders. When the Lions get solid production from a third player, usually Lyles or Rosenberg, they are a dangerous team.
Brown, on the other hand, continues to struggle. The Bears looked promising through their first four Ivy games, getting a victory at home against Dartmouth, and keeping things interesting against Yale and Harvard. Last weekend was a big step back though, as the Bears' roster was depleted due to injury. Princeton came into the Pizz and pulled away early, never looking back in a double-digit victory, and an angry Penn team came in the next night and did the same thing. At 1-5, things look like they may be unraveling quickly for a Brown team with some very tough road trips still on the schedule.
Matchup to Watch
Mark Cisco vs. Andrew McCarthy
Columbia has some frontcourt depth that the Bears will struggle to compete with. Cisco is stronger than McCarthy, so look for the Columbia guards to work
it inside as much as possible to the big man. McCarthy, who is quietly putting together a very impressive season (especially considering the lack of help surrounding him), has his work cut out for him in this one. Behind Cisco, the Lions also have John Daniels, Cory Osetkowski, and Blaise Staab. That's a lot of size for the Bears to deal with. If McCarthy can own the glass and limit second chances, Brown will be able to keep it competitive.
Keys to the Game
Bears need threes
This could be an ugly game, folks. Brown boasts the league's second-worst offense. Columbia's defense is third in the Ivies, allowing only 0.971 points per possession. When Brown has the ball, they're really going to struggle to score. It's unlikely that McCarthy goes for a big game against the stronger Cisco, so tonight, it's on the backcourt to produce with heavy outside shooting. Expect to see McGonagill, Albrecht, Harris, and Sullivan taking a lot of shots. Because Columbia's defense is too good to allow Brown to carve up this defense for layups, the Bears will need to knock down threes to have a chance tonight.
Lions should come out fast and attack from the wing
A big start would go a long way in putting the Bears away. Last weekend, Princeton and Penn built early leads and took the wind out of Brown's sails. The Lions’ biggest advantage over Brown is on the wings, so expect Columbia to give Lyles and Rosenberg their fair share of looks. Brown will be focused on stopping Barbour's penetration and limiting Cisco's touches, so if Columbia can get buckets from one of their shooters, they should cruise.
Columbia's defense will clamp down on a still-banged up Brown squad. Lyles has a good night and Columbia's freshmen contribute on offense. The Bears' lone senior, Jean Harris, has a hot night from the field, but it's not enough to combat the strength of Cisco and the quickness of Barbour as the Lions roll at Levien.
Columbia 64, Brown 53