Posts Tagged ‘men’s basketball’
The nightmarish 80-47 box score Saturday night is the enduring memory of this men’s basketball season for some. But not for me.
At 18-11 overall with two games remaining, the popular narrative should be about Columbia’s potential first 20-win season in four decades.
While a 20-11 record wouldn’t put the Lions in the NCAA Tournament—those hopes set sail after that whole Harvard game meltdown thing—it would still represent something significant for the program.
Twenty wins in college basketball is a basic benchmark of a solid team. Championship-caliber teams rarely jump from mediocrity straight to immortality—they usually have a very good season in between, one which is a sign of good things to come. Harvard, for example, finished with 21 wins in 2009-10. It was a seven-win improvement from the previous season and a 13-win improvement over the season before that. Fast forward to the present: Harvard has clinched its fourth consecutive Ivy title. More »
Our sports reporters travel around the Ivy League to watch the Light Blue. Games aside, the experience at each venue is unique. We’ll review each arena/field/gym after we travel there.
On Saturday, I went up to Harvard to watch men’s basketball face the Crimson.
I was expecting a competitive game. I was wrong, but at least I got to go to Harvard’s basketball arena, Lavietes Pavilion, for the first time. Game aside, it was not my best experience as a visiting media member.
Venue accessibility: A. I bused to Boston, took the train to Harvard Square, then walked just across the river to Harvard’s athletics complex. Penn aside, this is pretty much as convenient as it gets around the Ancient Eight.
The only negative is that the concrete stairs in the athletics complex are kind of steep and I tripped, scraping my hand to save my phone. (No, I was not texting.)
Layout: C. There’s not a lot of space to walk from end to end. The food stand and snack bars were too close to the entrance and bathrooms, so the flow of people in and out mixed with the lines for food and toilets. The stairs up to media row were (relative to the entrance) all the away across the gym and behind the bleachers. Exactly what I’m looking for in an arena.
That said, there were bleachers on either side so the 2,000-ish fans could watch the game—which is the most important thing, I guess.
To loosely paraphrase from those familiar with Columbia basketball: The Light Blue chokes in crunch time. The story started in the Spring of 2012 and, two years later, is still going strong.
But Friday’s victory over Brown should bring our attention to a surprising development: The Lions have been much better in close games this season than their reputation would suggest.
(For the sake of clarity, let’s say a “close game” was decided by five points or fewer, or went to overtime.)
Muneeb Alam, one of our sports editors, wrote about this very topic the other day. As he explains, men’s basketball head coach Kyle Smith attributes the improved late-game results to tangible goals set in the offseason, like better conditioning.
Sure, fatigue can be a determining factor at the end of games. Basketball, after all, is a physical battle for 40 minutes. Experience is crucial as well. Every coach would argue that, regardless of the level of basketball being discussed. But both proper conditioning and experience, in reality, are minor explanations for why Columbia has improved so significantly.
The key starts with being luckier or, in the case of the Lions, being less unlucky. More »
Good morning! It’s snowing. And despite the almost warmish weather a few days ago, the snow is currently sticking. On the ground. Yep.
In Columbia news:
- Recently The Lion noticed the great injustice of overpriced sandwiches, the most versatile of snacks/meals. To keep sandwich prices square they made a petition to add the position of “Sandwich Ambassador” to CCSC. Here’s a Facebook event.
- The Men’s Basketball team has been sportsing so hard, they might earn over 20 wins this season. Muneeb Alam identifies key reasons why the team is winning sports.
- Bwog reporters share their experiences at the 4th annual Veteran’s Ball this past weekend.
Outside the bubble:
(By the way: I think it should have been a ‘no call.’)
But, lost in Laurent Rivard’s Jedi mind control of the referees is the reemergence of Light Blue guard Meiko Lyles.
While Mullins did return to action this past weekend, he only played 56 minutes between the Harvard and Dartmouth games—and 44 of those minutes came in the first game. In other words, Mullins is getting healthier but is still not 100 percent.
Meanwhile, Lyles is becoming a vital cog in the Lions’ backcourt rotation. In the past four contests, he has averaged close to 28 minutes per game—the same amount as junior forward Alex Rosenberg this season.
In case you were unaware, the Light Blue men’s basketball team hosts Harvard tonight. You may not think of Harvard and Columbia as sporting an athletic rivalry (unlike, say, Harvard and Yale or Penn and Princeton). But the two Ivies collide on the court/field/
ice many times a year, and several recent meetings have been noteworthy.
Starting sophomore guard Grant Mullins left the Friday game in Princeton—which Columbia later won in a dramatic fashion—with what turned out to be a concussion. He missed Saturday’s game at Penn and is day-to-day going into this weekend’s games. Though the status of one of his best players is up in the air, head coach Kyle Smith thankfully hasn’t declared Mullins out for the season and gone on all Jim Mora or Denny Green on us.
(Okay, I couldn’t resist. Those coaching tirades are comedic gold.)
Last season Mullins was the primary wingman for leading scorer Brian Barbour. When Barbour graduated, it seemed Mullins would assume the role of the team’s top dog. That hasn’t exactly been the case. Instead, sophomore guard Maodo Lo and junior forward Alex Rosenberg have taken huge steps forward. (The latter, in particular, looks like he could be an All-Ivy player this season.)
But that doesn’t mean Mullins hasn’t been immensely valuable to the team so far—it just means that he’s flown under the radar compared to two of his teammates. Take a look below at his stat lines from the past two seasons:
The columns, in order: season, minutes per game, points per game, rebounds per game, assists per game, field-goal percentage, three-point field-goal percentage, free-throw percentage.
His numbers are steady or up across the board. And keep in mind that without Barbour, he has to create opportunities for himself and others more than he has in the past. More »
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 »
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.
Despite being predicted to finish third place in the Ivy League, the Light Blue men’s basketball team had a disappointing 2012-2013 season, as they posted a record of 12-16 overall and 4-10 in conference play, and finished in last place.
In our season wrap-up show, Spectator’s men’s basketball beat writers—Eli Schultz, Steven Lau, and Muneeb Alam—discuss the problems that plagued the Lions’ season and the highlight the players that will play a key role in future years, especially with the graduation of point guard Brian Barbour and center Mark Cisco, who both played central roles in Columbia’s squad.