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.

Mike Smith, Quinton Adlesh and Lukas Meisner are in the top 10 for the conference, hitting 30, 30 and 24 three-pointers, respectively.  Meisner is second in the league with a 46.2 percent rate, and Adlesh is fifth at 43.5 percent.  With Smith shooting at a 33.3 percent (4.9 less than ‘16-’17) and taking 44 percent of his total attempts from beyond the arc (13 percent more than ‘16-’17), Columbia could be even better from the outside during Ancient Eight play, if Nate Hickman (14 threes at 24.1 percent; down 11.4 percent from ‘16-’17) can get back on track and lessen Smith’s load.

Noting Smith, the 5’ 11” sophomore is second in conference scoring (18.1 points per game), assists (4.8 per game), and assists/turnovers (2.3).  He is third in steals (1.5 per game), fifth in minutes played (34.4 per game), and sixth in free throw rate (81.1 percent).  He has improved in points (plus-4.5), assists (plus-1.2), assists/turnovers (plus-0.2), made three-pointers (plus-0.9) and two-point shooting (plus-3.3 percent) from his strong rookie season.

What’s Not:
Three-Point Defense, Offensive Rebounding and Free Throws

The Lions are allowing its opponents to score 8.9 three-pointers a game (eighth in conference) on 35.0 percent shooting.  These teams are scoring just over 35 percent of their total points from beyond the arc, which is top 70 nationally.

Columbia is near the bottom of the league in rebounding with an offensive rate of 24.3 percent and a defensive rate of 71.3 percent.  Its offensive rate was sitting at 22.7 percent, which was bottom 30 nationally, before facing Sarah Lawrence.  After securing 40 percent of its offensive rebounding opportunities against the non-Division 1 school, the Lions’’ rate improved, but is still around 300 in the country.

From the free throw line, the Lions are averaging 13.5 attempts and 9.1 made baskets a game, which are both bottom five nationally.  They are allowing their opponents to get to the line just over 19 times a game and they are averaging 14.2 made free throws each contest.  This 5.1 point difference has been significant, considering seven of Columbia’s 10 losses have been 10 points or less.

What’s Meh:
Deceptive Record and Point Production Per Half

The Lions’ non-conference record is deceiving.  They were competitive on the road against teams ranked in the KenPom top 100, losing to Villanova (#1), Penn State (#43) and Boston College (#78) by 15, 14 and 15 points, respectively.  With teams ranked 100 to 200, they lost four games by an average of 6 points.  However, they only have wins against unranked or 300-plus teams and lost three games at home to opponents ranked #209, #217 and #298.

With regards to offensive output, Columbia is averaging 38.7 points (top 50) over the first twenty minutes, while allowing 33.6 for a 5.1 point halftime advantage.  Unfortunately, the second half has been a problem with the Lions only scoring 35.5 points (bottom 60) and giving up 41.7 (bottom 50) for a minus-6.2 point differential.

What’s Next:

Columbia starts Ivy play this weekend with a trip to Princeton on Friday and Penn on Saturday.  The Lions return home to welcome the Big Red as the men’s and women’s teams play a double header at Levien Gymnasium on the 20th.  Both teams will then meet in Ithaca on the 27th, before the men come back to New York City for games against Harvard and Dartmouth on Feb. 2 and 3.

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