With Alex Rosenberg out indefinitely with a foot fracture, Columbia’s Ivy outlook is very much in question.On the bright side, what isn’t in question is that Columbia boasts one of the most explosive and deepest backcourts in the league. Everything about Maodo Lo is bona fide, and there’s no reason he can’t build on his breakout performance last season, when he did a little bit of everything for the Lions. Coach Kyle Smith would be wise to stop trying to go big, though. Last season, he tried pairing Luke Petrasek and Cory Osetkowski together in the frontcourt to little avail before going back to a smaller lineup embracing the guard-friendly makeup of this roster. Rosenberg or no Rosenberg, guard play will determine Columbia’s fate in 2014-15.
Oddly, the main theme of last month’s Ivy preseason teleconference seemed to be the value of tough nonconference scheduling. Nearly every Ivy coach talked at length about how scheduling a challenging nonconference slate made teams better. We all know that strength of schedule becomes a major factor for teams in power conferences as Selection Sunday approaches, but that doesn’t apply to the 14-game tournament that is the Ivy League. Still, we’ll likely to learn a lot about our beloved Ancient Eight when they hit the road to take on some of the nation’s most powerful programs. At the very least, nonconference play can be exciting when we least expect it. Who expected Cornell to jump out to a 14-point lead at No. 8 Syracuse last November? Who expected No. 2 Michigan State to trail Columbia by seven in the second half at the Breslin Center and the game to swing for good on back-to-back phony shot clock countdowns?
Predictions are a fool’s game … so let’s play!
HARVARD WILL LOSE AT LEAST THREE IVY GAMES
We all know this conference is loaded this season. Columbia, Yale, Brown and Dartmouth return nearly everyone. Even Cornell will be more dangerous with Shonn Miller back, so the Big Red will be poised for an upset or two. So what does that mean for prohibitive conference favorite Harvard?
Tough sledding, obviously, enough for Harvard to drop three conference games this season. Of course, all the Ivies will have to endure that tough sledding, meaning 11 league wins will be enough for Harvard to win a fourth straight conference championship, the same magic number that allowed Harvard into the 2013 Big Dance.
This preseason, Ivy Hoops Online will be running in-depth roster previews of all eight Ivy teams. We start with the squad projected to finish last in the conference this season, Cornell.
Is the glass half empty or half full?
Well, let’s start with half full. Braxton Bunce, Galal Cancer and 2012-13 first-team All-Ivy Shonn Miller return after missing all of last season, and Deion Giddens returns after missing most of last year as well. There’s presumably nowhere to go but up from 2-26, and sophomores like Darryl Smith and Robert Hatter will be well-seasoned after getting pressed into action early and often as rookies a year ago.
The Ivy basketball preseason media poll was released yesterday, and the results weren’t surprising, with Harvard garnering all 17 first-place votes.
Then Ivy League’s eight head coaches gave a lot of insight into their respective programs during yesterday’s Ivy preseason media teleconference. They knocked on a lot of wood too. Here’s a comprehensive look at what each coach had to say and what their comments actually mean going forward.
Columbia issued a statement from head coach Kyle Smith announcing the departure of senior guard Meiko Lyles and sophomore forward Zach En’Wezoh from the Columbia basketball program.
Smith’s statement reads as follows:
“Meiko Lyles and Zach En’Wezoh have decided to leave the program. They both will remain enrolled at Columbia. Meiko decided to take his last year and focus on his academics and securing a job after graduation. Zach’s situation is more medical. He has battled through a series of injuries since he’s been here and, despite his best efforts, does not believe his body can make it through the rigors of another season. Meiko and Zach have been great representatives of our program. We respect and support both of their decisions and wish them nothing but the best.”
While the sting of En’Wezoh’s departure will be mitigated by Columbia’s deep frontcourt, the loss of Lyles is a big one for a program universally thought to be on the rise following last season’s 21-13 finish. Lyles came on strong down the stretch in the regular season last year, hitting a game-winning three to give the Lions a win at Princeton, posting 21 points on 80 percent shooting from the field in a 70-68 win against Brown and providing solid perimeter defense on a consistent basis.
Lyles’s absence will put pressure on freshman guards Kyle Castlin and Nate Hickman to contribute in perhaps greater roles than previously expected, but Lyles’s tight defense will be missed regardless. His D was a factor in Miles Jackson-Cartwright and Tony Hicks’s combined 3-for-15 performance from the field for Penn at Levien Gym late in the season and he helped contain Armani Cotton in Columbia’s 16-point win over Yale.
But that win over Yale may also provide an answer for how replace Lyles going forward.
Steve Frankoski notched 17 points off the bench against the Bulldogs, and the senior guard will have to help fill Lyles’s shoes in 2014-15.
Friend of IHO and author Richard Kent– whose basketball work includes Big East Confidential and Lady Vols and UConn: The Greatest Rivalry— sat down this week with Yale head coach James Jones to chat about next season for the Bulldogs. Some of the highlights from their conversation are below.
Richard Kent: The Ivy will be tough next year. Can you envision two NCAA bids?
James Jones: That will be tough, but could happen if two teams tie and have a playoff. We will certainly have some strong teams who will be in the postseason.
RK: Any defections or losses from this year’s team next season?
JJ: Well, Brandon Sherrod is taking a year off to sing and travel with the Whiffenpoofs. He will be back after that.
Down 16 in the second half against Tom Izzo’s mighty Spartans, Harvard stormed back, capturing the lead and the nation’s attention on Saturday night before ultimately falling short in a 80-73 Round of 32 defeat.
Behind the usual balanced attack, Harvard outplayed Cincinnati for 40 minutes, making clutch shots down the stretch and limiting Sean Kilpatrick’s impact in a 61-57 Round of 64 victory in Spokane.
The Crimson will face Michigan State on Saturday for the right to advance to the Sweet 16.
The Tigers continued the Ivy League’s creditable showing in the 2014 post-season with a 56-55 victory over the Tulane Green Wave in the opener of the College Basketball Invitational in New Orleans. Princeton was in control of the contest throughout, although Tulane made a strong run at the end. The Green Wave clearly missed the services of leading scorer Louis Dabney, unable to take the court due to recent injury.
TJ Bray, mistakenly identified as “Ivy POY” by the Tulane play-by-play announcer, showed once again why he deserved consideration. Bray joined the Princeton 1000 Point Club with 12 for the game, to go with 9 assists. His 370 assists Red/Black, Even/ Odd, Low/High BetsVoit asettaa panoksen yhteen sarakkeista joka on poydan pitkalla sivulla. leave him just 11 shy of second place in the Tiger career record book. Hans Brase led the Tigers with 16 points.