Former Dartmouth assistant coach John Andrzejek has joined Kyle Smith’s staff at Washington State as its director of analytics. This will be Andrzejek’s third stint with the former Lions head coach. While completing his undergraduate degree in philosophy in just two and a half years from Columbia in 2013, Andrzejek served as the Lions’ team manager during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons before being hired as the team’s director of basketball operations in July of 2014. He stayed in that spot until the 2016-2017 season, when he went west to join Smith as the University of San Francisco’s director of basketball operations for a year.
Some Ivy updates before heading into Final Four weekends in Tampa and Minneapolis:
Kyle Smith went from the Big Apple to the City by the Bay in 2016.
Three seasons later, he’s headed for the Palouse.
The former Columbia coach was announced as the new Washington State men’s basketball coach Wednesday after three seasons at the helm at San Francisco.
On Saturday afternoon, the Dartmouth men rallied from a 16-point first-half deficit to defeat Albany on the road, 61-52. With the win, the team’s fourth in a row and its second victory over the Great Danes this season, the Big Green are 8-5. Not only are their eight wins the second most in the Ivy League this year, but they are the most wins in a single season of the Dave McLaughlin era.
Just over a year ago, the program was reeling with a surprise announcement that two time All-Ivy forward Evan Boudreaux would prematurely end his playing career at Dartmouth, as well as a season-ending injury to starting guard and second leading scorer Guilien Smith. Now, less than six weeks into the 2018-2019 campaign, the Green have risen from the ashes and look to be a force in the upcoming Ivy season.
According to an Associated Press report on Columbia’s 82-73 loss at Boston College Wednesday night, Lions coach Jim Engles announced that star point guard Mike Smith has a torn meniscus and will miss the remainder of the 2018-2019 season. Smith’s injury occurred in the first half of last Friday’s game against Bryant. The junior point guard ends his season as one of the Ivy League’s top performers with 15.8 points, 5.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game.
One impressive Ivy winning streak continued this weekend, while another very consequentially ended.
Princeton upped its consecutive win total to 15, effectively clinching the No. 1 seed in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament, to be played March 11 and March 12 at the Palestra. The last four Tiger victories have been by double digits, and Princeton’s defense is shutting down opponent after opponent.
Penn, though, couldn’t escape the Empire State unscathed, suffering a crucial 70-67 defeat at Columbia that snapped both the Red and Blue’s five-game winning streak and the Lions’ five-game losing skid, keeping Columbia very much in the race for the inaugural Ivy League Tournament’s No. 4 seed.
But that race isn’t what most Ivy supporters thought it was as recently as this past weekend. On Sunday morning, in response to a question from Mike James (@ivybball), the Ivy League confirmed that second tiebreaker for the No. 4 seed doesn’t just take into account the No. 4 candidates’ records versus tournament qualifiers from No. 1 through No. 3, which is how most Ivy observers interpreted the tiebreaker (which can be read at the #IvyMadness site here). Instead, the tiebreaker would be the highest Ivy that one No. 4 candidate beat that other didn’t, even if that tiebreak goes as low as Brown or Cornell.
One could quite easily make the case that the five most important people to Columbia’s 2015-16 10-4 Ivy season and CIT title run are no longer with the team. Maodo Lo and Alex Rosenberg are overseas. Twitterless Grant Mullins is on the left coast, so is San Francisco head coach Kyle Smith, and Isaac Cohen is in the professional world. It would have been easy to expect a team that lost that degree of experience and their coach to struggle immensely implementing into a new season. But thanks to a strong freshman class, an affable guard with a knack for clutch shots, and a big man who leads the team in scoring, the Lions expect to make some noise in this new Ivy basketball world.
1. Yale (2-1)
Who outside of New Haven expected Yale to have this kind of start when then-Ivy Player of the Year candidate Makai Mason was declared out for this season with a foot injury?
And who expected Yale to gel so quickly after Ivy Rookie of the Year candidate Jordan Bruner reportedly suffered an ACL sprain earlier this month?
What happened last year (25-10, 10-4): Columbia was expected to vie for last year’s Ivy title with Yale and Princeton, but an overtime loss at home to Princeton midseason relegated Columbia to a lower tier within the conference and a CIT appearance. Columbia made the most of the CIT, though, winning the tournament and sending off the four that roared – Isaac Cohen, Maodo Lo, Grant Mullins and Alex Rosenberg as champions. Then Kyle Smith subsequently left to coach at San Francisco, and Jim Engles from NJIT was tapped to succeed him.
What’s new: With the four that roared gone, senior forward Luke Petrasek will likely be asked to shoulder much more of the offensive burden than he did a year ago, but more on that later.
IHO’s Sam Tydings caught up with first-year Columbia head coach Jim Engles, who took over the Lions’ program in April after eight years as head coach at NJIT, ironically after Columbia defeated NJIT en route to the 2016 CIT title. Engles discussed 2016-17 team leaders, what pace he wants the Lions to play at and why he’s not talking about winning with his players at the moment: