Not-so-classic weekend for Columbia at Fordham

Can Columbia buy a win?

More importantly, can Columbia buy a stop?

In the first 10 games of last season, Columbia allowed just three teams — not even Villanova among them — to score 80-plus points. This year’s squad has thrice conceded opponent totals of at least four score and seven years ago. Seems about right for the last time the Lions won a game.

The team dropped three consecutive games at the Johnny Bach Classic at Fordham over the weekend. Kendale Hampton scored a career-best 32 points to lead Youngstown State to a 94-83 win in Columbia’s opener. FIU rode several double-doubles to an easy 98-87 win over Columbia on Saturday despite Gabe Stefanini’s 33 points. The denouement came Sunday, when Columbia snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in a 70-69 heartbreaker against host Fordham.

Read moreNot-so-classic weekend for Columbia at Fordham

Columbia comes up short on the Hudson Shore

The Columbia Lions men’s basketball team started the season with more of a whimper than a roar, dropping their opening game 82-76 to Marist Saturday night in Poughkeepsie.

To take a page out of Jason Lloyd of The Athletic’s book, here are seven thoughts for Mike Smith’s seven field goals, as well as a bonus two looking ahead to Columbia’s participation in the 2018 Johnny Bach Classic …

Read moreColumbia comes up short on the Hudson Shore

2018-19 Ivy League Preseason Power Rankings

Another college basketball season is upon us. So what can we expect from the Ancient Eight this season coming off a down year for the league overall?

With so much returning talent across the conference, anticipate higher quality of play from both the Ivies who make the conference tournament and those who don’t.

1. Harvard

The Crimson missed their two highest-usage players on offense down the stretch of the Ivy League Tournament final versus Penn at the Palestra: Bryce Aiken, who suffered a knee injury and missed 18 of the final 22 games of the season, and Seth Towns, who suffered a knee injury with around eight minutes left and did not return. Of course, Penn edged out Harvard in the end, the Crimson coming up just short in the face of the Red and Blue’s home-court advantage even without the 2017-18 Ivy Player of the Year (Towns) and 2016-17 Rookie of the Year (Aiken).

Harvard would have likely punched a NCAA Tournament ticket if it had those two standouts in tow, and they’ll probably do the same if they have them in tow this season.

If.

Read more2018-19 Ivy League Preseason Power Rankings

Ivy weekend roundup – Feb. 23-24, 2018

1. Penn (21-7, 11-1 Ivy)

Penn shot a blistering 76 percent from two-point range in claiming sole possession of first place in the Ivy League standings with a 74-71 win over Harvard Saturday night at the Palestra. Penn’s AJ Brodeur lured Chris Lewis out of the paint at times, and the Red and Blue attacked the basket when Lewis was on the bench. Brodeur had four assists and no turnovers, with senior guard Darnell Foreman notching five assists on senior night himself.

Penn has now shot a combined 40-for-60 (66.7 percent) from two-point range in two games versus a Harvard defense that characteristically values rim protection and ranks first in the league in defensive two-point percentage (48.1 percent). Not surprisingly, Penn ranks first in the conference in two-point percentage and assists per field goals made. Anyone who’s watched Penn ping pong passes in the paint knows that this team is capable of getting high-percentage shots even against a defense as stout as Harvard’s. That’s something to keep in mind should these squads meet at the Palestra again in the Ivy League Tournament championship game on Mar. 11.

Read moreIvy weekend roundup – Feb. 23-24, 2018

Ivy weekend roundup – Feb. 16-17, 2018

The Ancient Eight aren’t so ancient anymore.

Penn ranks highest in experience in the Ivy League but still ranks just 140th nationally. Princeton (144th) and Columbia (244th) round out the Ivies in the top 250, while Cornell, Brown and Harvard are all sub-300 in experience at 306th, 334th and 335th respectively.

It hasn’t always been this way.

Read moreIvy weekend roundup – Feb. 16-17, 2018

Ivy weekend roundup – Feb. 2-3, 2018

Now that we’re at the point of the season where the conference standings really start to loom large, the IHO Power Poll goes away and we drill down each of the Ivies by their order in their standings.

First, though, some observations about an unusually exciting Ivy slate of games so far. The Ivy League, per KenPom, ranks first among all 32 Division I conferences in close game percentage, or percentage of games decided by fewer than four points or in overtime, with 11 of 23 games falling in that category. The Ivy League ranked 20th in that category last season, 25th in 2016 and next-to-last in 2015, so hope you’re enjoying the uptick in close contests.

This season’s Ivy slate has been unusually kind to the home teams so far too. The Ivy League also ranks first in Division I in home win percentage, as 18 of 23 hosts have been victorious so far. Interestingly, the league ranked last in Division I last season, when home teams went just 28-28 in conference play. The Ancient Eight ranked 15th in home win percentage in 2016 and 26th in 2015, so this season’s frequency of success for home teams has been unusual too. Since Penn and Princeton are going to be hitting the road down the stretch, the league’s home-win percentage could go back down some by the time the season is over.

Read moreIvy weekend roundup – Feb. 2-3, 2018

Checking in with Columbia men’s basketball

Record: 3-10 Overall and 0-0 Ivy (2-3 Home; 1-7 Away) 

Rankings: KenPom #238, Bart Torvik #239, TeamRankings #218

What’s Hot:

Three-Point Shooting and Mike Smith

Columbia’s offense focuses primarily around the three-pointer, with the team averaging 29.1 attempts and 10.6 made baskets a game.  Their 36.3 percent rate is second in the conference, while their attempts and made triples rank in the top 25 nationally.  The Lions attempt 46 percent of their total shots from three, which is in the top 30 nationally, and secure 43 percent of their points from outside the arc, a top 10 amount.

Read moreChecking in with Columbia men’s basketball

Ivy Power Poll – Dec. 31, 2017

1. Princeton (7-7) 

The Tigers showed what they’re capable of by scoring the biggest nonconference upset among Ivies this season with a 103-93 toppling of USC in overtime. The Tigers blew a seven-point lead with 46 seconds to go in regulation but rallied in gritty fashion in the extra period, getting seven points from Amir Bell in overtime. Princeton got 30 points from Myles Stephens and 23 points from Devin Cannady, who played all 45 minutes. Stephens and Cannady posted nine rebounds each. But what was perhaps most encouraging about Princeton’s victory over USC was freshman Sebastian Much continuing to emerge with a 19-point, four-assist performance that he followed up with double-figure efforts in Princeton’s next two games against Middle Tennessee State and Akron in the Diamond Head Classic. The Tigers let themselves down at the free throw line in their 69-67 loss to MTSU, going just 14-for-23 (60.9 percent) there.

Read moreIvy Power Poll – Dec. 31, 2017

Ancient Eight to watch

While the Ivy League has many big name players, some who have even attracted the attention of the NBA and USA Basketball, there are other important athletes who will play key roles for their respective teams throughout the 2016-17 campaign.  Most IHO readers are familiar with the most notable players from A(iken) to Z(immerman).  With a few games in the book, IHO wanted to highlight a few of the the league’s under the radar players.  Some will be helpful in the push for a spot in the Ivy Tournament, while others will be laying the foundation for future glory.  All, hopefully, will make a special contribution to this season.

Read moreAncient Eight to watch

2017-18 Ivy League team-by-team season preview, part 1

This is part 1 of IHO’s 2017-18 Ivy League team-by-team season preview. Read part 2 here

The rise of the Ivy League is projected to continue.

The Ancient Eight is slated by KenPom as the 13th-best conference in Division I this season, just seven years after it placed 26th. That’s a quantum leap, a product of the league’s bolstered recruiting in that time frame. The Ivy hoops status quo now consists of top-25 recruiting classes, Nike Skills Academy members and expectations of NCAA Tournament success.

There’s a three-way cluster between Harvard, Princeton and Yale projected to top the league. In the Ivy Preseason Media Poll, Yale received the most first-place votes (eight) but Harvard garnered the most points overall. Without a clear conference favorite, it’s quite likely that the regular season champion will not also be the conference tournament winner, with Bart Torvik’s Ivy Tourney Simulator tabbing Penn as the favorite in an Ivy tourney as a No. 4 seed.

Read more2017-18 Ivy League team-by-team season preview, part 1