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Ivy title hopes for the men’s basketball team are unfortunately getting swallowed down the drain after back-to-back losses at Yale and Brown last weekend.
Winning on the road is a tough task in Ivy play—to be fair, last weekend, road teams went 0-8. Home-court advantage really does matter in some cases. It may have played a significant role in the Lions’ losses to the Bulldogs and Bears last weekend—both teams with worse overall records than Columbia’s. The fact that Columbia has played consecutive road games for the first time since early November could only have made playing that much more difficult.
But home-away splits notwithstanding, over the past two years, a curious trend of scoring inconsistency (especially in conference play) has emerged in Columbia hoops, and I think it has to do with its reliance on the three.
Well, it certainly wasn’t the most exciting Super Bowl ever. But Super Bowl XLVIII (that would be 48, for those of you who aren’t fluent in Roman numerals) still had some highlights. As a neutral football fan, here are my top 10.
1. Prop Bets
My favorites are easily “the numbers of Skittles pelted at Seahawks’ running back Marshawn Lynch” and “whether Knowshon Moreno would cry during the national anthem.” (You may recall that he is the patron saint of shedding tears on national TV.)
2. The Safety
The first play from scrimmage of the Super Bowl. It would impossible to quantify the anxiety going through the minds of all 22 players on the field. But still, there have been, what, 47 of these Super Bowl things without a catastrophe of that magnitude?
The men’s basketball team will begin its 14-game Ivy League campaign tonight against Cornell. Despite low expectations at the beginning of the season, the Lions have managed to turn some heads, and are currently sitting at an impressive 11-6. What’s the secret to their surprising success? Where do they stand in comparison to the other Ivies? Columnists Peter Andrews, Ryan Young, and Daniel Radov offer their thoughts on the Lions and the rest of the Ancient Eight.
Q: Columbia was picked to finished eighth in the preseason media poll. It’s certainly not looking that way anymore. What part of the Lions’ game has surprised you the most?
Peter: The defense—ranked in the top 30 in the country—has been really good. The Lions haven’t really been blown out once this year, and they haven’t lost a game they were “supposed” to win. I think that’s largely due to the consistent, stifling nature of the defense.
Ryan: The entire starting lineup—led lately by junior forward Alex Rosenberg—has played above expectations. I would expect teams as young as the Lions to be more volatile, but the contributions were spread out enough for them to be remarkably consistent in nonconference play.
Daniel: The balance. On a given night, three or four different players have a legitimate chance to lead the team in scoring. Sure, basketball games are not decided in the offensive end alone, but it’s impressive to watch a team with so many weapons. More »
Mistake-free football. Executing plays. These are the things that Lions coach Pete Mangurian talks about constantly. Limiting turnovers is the name of the game, and all the well-designed plays in the world aren’t enough if the decision-making by the quarterback isn’t good. Columbia committed only one turnover against Cornell, and it ended their chance to come back in the fourth quarter.
We haven’t talked much about different types of defending pass plays. There are two basic ways to defend the pass. In man-to-man, each defender is assigned a specific receiver and follows that person around the field, trying to prevent a catch. In zone, the defenders are each assigned a zone of the field that they are responsible for, covering the guys who end up in their area. Most defensive schemes actually rely on some combination of the two, but Cornell’s zone—and Columbia’s inability to read it correctly—cost the Lions last Saturday. More »
Columbia men’s basketball lost to Michigan State, No. 2 in the country, 62-53 on Saturday in a hotly contested game. The fact that the Light Blue lost by 9 points shows our ability to compete nationally, at least in some sports.
But that’s not the whole story.
Michigan State students forced two shot clock violations by chanting the wrong time, giving Michigan State the chance to add 8 points to their score at 54-53 with three minutes left in the game.
Columbia does not run the most dynamic offense in the world. If the offense has any animating principles, they are simplicity, power running, and timing-based routes. The Lions haven’t had much success this year with this offense.
Much of the rest of the Ivy League has moved this year toward a much more exciting and dynamic style of football. This style is animated by a few key principles: speed and a lack of huddling (a trend largely driven by Chip Kelly and the Oregon Ducks), the spread offense, and read-option running plays.
I am fairly certain that you’re currently wondering what the hell a “read-option” is. Simply put, it’s a running play where the quarterback has the option to either hand the ball to a running back or keep it himself. He chooses what to do by reading the defense—specifically, the actions of one player on the opposing team. When done well, it can be very difficult to stop. More »
The men’s cross country team took home the Ivy title on Nov. 2 at the Ivy Heptagonal Cross Country Championship. Not only this, but they are currently ranked eighth in the nation. This is too awesome, especially in the wake of an overall disappointing fall season for Columbia athletics.
Now the cross country team is a favorite to win Friday’s NCAA Northeast Regionals at Van Cortlandt Park, and you can go support them! There will be free hot chocolate, coffee, and bagels on 116th Street and Amsterdam at 10 A.M. Columbia Fan Buses will depart at 10:30 and 10:50, and from there cross country team members will lead everyone to fan areas where they can cheer on the Light Blue.
Steve Frankoski, Liz Malone, and Eli Schultz sat down with cross country coach of 19 years Willy Wood to discuss the team’s success, as well as program changes over the past two decades. Check out what he had to say!
Is the Columbia football team a waste of money? This article in the NY Daily News weighs the pros and cons of cutting football. It is interesting to see an analysis of our athletics program from someone outside of the Columbia community. Here are the pros and cons, as put by the article, for dropping our football program:
– The infrastructure is already there at Baker Field, the facilities are available and there is no prettier view from the press box anywhere.
– The program brings racial and geographic diversity to the student body.
– Some students (though not enough) still enjoy the whole Saturday football experience in northern Manhattan.
– A segment of alumni would be loudly miffed if the program were discontinued.
– The halftime band is a lot of fun.
With tennis and basketball, there were plenty of winners in Columbia athletics over the weekend. But one other program had a historic performance on Saturday: Women’s swimming.
The Light Blue defeated Harvard for the first time at Uris Pool—that’s right, program history—by a score of 163.5-136.5. And for the victory to come in the team’s first meet of the 2013-2014 season makes it that much more special.
Senior captain Alena Kluge clinched the victory in the meet’s penultimate event with her win in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:02.29. First-year Celia Frick came in second in the same race with a time of 2:03.15.
Of note, Harvard broke five pool records, but still couldn’t do enough to come away with a win. Two of the broken records came in the 100 and 200 backstroke, which Kluge set last year.
We’ll have a full recap on the historic win later in the week in Sports.
This has not been a good year for the Columbia football team. It’s been a case of everything that could go wrong going wrong, usually at the worst possible time. Columbia has been plagued by injuries, and the team is relying on very young, inexperienced players. This week, I’m going to take a look at a play from the Yale game where youth really hurt the Lions.
Columbia is down 23-6, but they have the ball at the start of the third quarter and they’ve just picked up a first down. The game isn’t out of hand yet, and it’s a big chance for the Lions to make it a close game.