Princeton (18-8) at Columbia (19-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 8, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Levien Gym (3,400) -- Manhattan, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Princeton 10-2, Columbia 13-2. Away Record: Princeton 7-5, Columbia 4-8. Neutral Record: Princeton 1-1, Columbia 2-1. Conference Record: Princeton 6-6, Columbia 8-5. Series Record: Princeton leads, 145-85.
GAME NOTES: With the Harvard Crimson winning the Ivy League title outright on Friday night, that leaves the rest of the member teams to play out the string, two of those being Princeton and Columbia as the pair meet at Levien Gym tonight.
While neither the Tigers nor the Lions were going to catch Harvard in the standings, now that the NCAA Tournament's representative from the Ancient Eight has been determined, some of the attention has been taken off the other programs. But make no mistake, both Princeton and Columbia still have a chance to catch on with one of the other postseason tournaments, but they'll have to finish strong.
The Tigers have won three in a row and four of the last five outings thanks to a 91-51 thrashing of cellar-dweller Cornell last night on the road. The team is now an even 6-6 in conference and 18-8 overall, with the annual regular- season finale versus Penn still on tap for Tuesday night in New Jersey.
As for the Lions, they are alone in third place in the Ivy with eight wins in 13 chances, sporting a 19-11 record overall which is second-best in the league. The team also won a lopsided outing last night, although not nearly as decisively, as they took down the aforementioned Quakers, 74-55, at home. The victory was the fifth in the last six games for the program.
Columbia pulled out a narrow 53-52 win in the first meeting of the season between the teams a month ago, which means the all-time series now stands at, 145-85, in favor of the Tigers.
During the highest-scoring effort of the season for the Tigers, Will Barrett and T.J. Bray both tallied 21 points, the former hitting all five of his 3- point tries, while the latter added eight rebounds and five assists in the win over lowly Cornell in Ithaca. Clay Wilson tossed in another 16 points, while Spencer Weisz accounted for seven points, 12 boards and five dishes. The team made good on 64.2 percent from the floor, including a lofty 14-of-23 (.609) behind the 3-point line.
Although he has appeared in just 22 games, starting all but two, Bray has taken charge of the Princeton offense as he generates 18.0 ppg, thanks to 54.2 percent accuracy from the field and 42.3 percent on the perimeter. Bray is also first on the unit with 113 assists and among the leaders with 4.7 rpg, doing everything he can to ensure a positive outcome for the Tigers. Hans Brase (11.0 ppg) and Barrett (10.8 ppg) help to fill in the gaps for an offense that is outscoring the opposition by 7.2 ppg.
The visiting Quakers were held to just eight field goals in the first half on Friday night, allowing Columbia to build a double-digit lead at the break and then cruise to victory. The defense for the Lions limited Penn to just 37.0 percent from the field and 2-of-13 on the perimeter, compared to 12-of-25 on the outside by the hosts. Alex Rosenberg was responsible for 22 points, Cory Osetkowski 14 and nine boards, followed by Maodo Lo and Steve Frankoski with 12 points apiece.
The leading scorer for the Lions in four of their last five outings, Rosenberg is putting up 16.3 ppg at the moment, shooting 43.9 percent behind the 3-point line. However, it is at the free-throw line where he is making a killing, scoring 206 of his 489 points on the season. Take away Rosenberg's efforts at the charity stripe and the rest of the unit combines for just 301 conversions at the line. Lo (14.3 ppg) is the only other active double-digit scorer for the program, with Grant Mullins (11.7 ppg) sidelined following a concussion.
The pressure to finish the season strong is still on for each of these programs because one or both could end up taking part in a postseason tournament somewhere. Given the dominating performance by Princeton last night, the Tigers have to be given the edge in this meeting as well.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Princeton 68, Columbia 63
03/08 11:41:39 ET