• Saturday's clash between the Ancient Eight's two Empire State squads will mark Columbia's Ivy League home debut.
• The Lions fell at the defending Ivy League Champs, Princeton, Friday night before a hard-fought defeat to current first-place Penn Saturday.
• Cornell also went 0-for-2 at Penn and Princeton and will be in search of its first conference win.
• Last season, the Lions and Big Red each posted victories on the road. Columbia leads the all-time series, 128-100.
• Both staffs will be taking part in the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers initiative, promoting the American Cancer Society as a place for help and support. While coaching games during the week, coaches wear sneakers with their game attire as a visible reminder about the importance of nutrition and physical activity in reducing cancer risk.
COACHES VS. CANCER 3-POINT CHALLENGE
Columbia is also participating in the 3-Point Challenge for the second consecutive year. With this initiative by the American Cancer Society and the NABC, fans can pledge a dollar amount for every 3-pointer Columbia makes during the month of February or make a one-time donation. All funds will benefit the American Cancer Society. To donate, click here.
The Big Red has dropped five-straight to Division I opponents, dating back to a Dec. 20 triumph over Lafayette. Matt Morgan, who checks in averaging 23.5 points on 49.0 percent shooting from the floor, is the Ivy League leader in scoring. Stone Gettings is having a strong season, posting 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game and Steve Julian is also pulling down 6.5 boards to go with 1.7 blocks.
COLUMBIA IN IVY LEAGUE HOME DEBUTS
Columbia is 34-27 in its home conference debuts. Last year, the Big Red spoiled the Ivy League opener against the Lions with their 67-62 victory on Jan. 13, 2017.
The Lions have been more active in creating turnovers in the past seven games, averaging 8.6 steals. Columbia now leads the Ivy League, posting 6.7 per contest. Mike Smith (1.4) and Quinton Adlesh (1.1) are both among the Ivy League leaders in the category.
Analytically, KenPom ranks the Lions 328th (-.093) and TeamRankings.com has them 349th (-3.1) out of 351 NCAA Division I squads in "luck." Half of Columbia's losses have come by two possessions or less and the Lions are 0-6 in games decided by that margin. Additionally, teams are doing things that go against their season numbers against Columbia. Not calculated but not to be overlooked, at Penn last Saturday AJ Brodeur came into the game against the Lions shooting just 7-of-29 (24.1 percent from 3-point range) and knocked down 6-of-12 in a six-point decision at the Palestra.
Columbia has posted 39 blocks (5.0 per game) in its last eight contests and is posting 3.7 per contest on the year. The Lions' 10 blocks against Stony Brook on Dec. 7 was the most for the program since Nov. 13, 2015, against Kean (10). It was the most against a Division I opponent since the Lions recorded 10 against Brown on Feb. 15, 2002. Jaron Faulds is third in the Ivy League, averaging 1.5 per contest.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Columbia has had 11 different players record double-figures in points this season. Only three teams in the country have more than the Lions (12: Texas San-Antonio, Texas State - 13: Savannah State).
The Lions lead the Ivy League in 3-point makes (10.0) and are ranked 28th nationally in that category. Columbia has knocked down at least 10 treys in 11 of its 15 contests. Earlier this season, the Lions tied a school record with 16 made 3-pointers in their win over Longwood on Nov. 14. Columbia previously accomplished the feat against Brown (Feb. 10, 2012) and Kean (Nov. 13, 2015).
After a summer training with NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler, sophomore point guard Mike Smith has started off 2017-18 strong, averaging 18.4 points - good for fourth in the Ivy League - leads the Ancient Eight in assists (4.5) and is third in steals (1.4). Smith has recorded 10 or more points in 24 straight games against DI opponents. The Burr Ridge, Illinois, established a personal-best in scoring for the second time this season with 28 points against Navy. Smith scored 368 points, a Columbia record for a first-year in 2016-17.
Lukas Meisner is having breakout junior campaign, averaging 9.9 points on a 40.7 clip from 3-point range. Meisner is leading the Ancient Eight lead, posting 6.6 rebounds per game and has two double-doubles, which is second most in the conference. The Braunschweig, Germany, product set career-highs in scoring in three-straight from Nov. 17-29, including a 25-point, 11-rebound effort at UConn. At Longwood, Meisner posted 16 rebounds, which was the most for a Lion since Mark Cisco '13CC pulled down 20 rebounds against Cornell on Jan. 21, 2012.
The Ivy League men’s and women’s basketball tournaments return to Philadelphia, March 10-11, 2018. The top four teams will earn berths to the tournament, with the semifinals on Saturday and the championships on Sunday. All six games will be broadcast live on ESPN’s networks. For tickets and more information please visit IvyMadness.com.