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Know! Your! Foe! - Columbia & Cornell updates.

For the first time in site history, we ran the table in the opening half of Ivy League play, publishing seven different Know! Your! Foe! interviews with seven different experts on each Princeton opponent.

What to do for the back end of the conference schedule? Well, repeat Q&As would be overkill so instead each subject has been asked back to provide a refresher on how the team they initially talked about has been playing since we last conversed.

After the jump you'll find insight from John Templon of Big Apple Buckets and Brian Delaney from 1160 ESPN in Ithaca.

Both do a great job updating the play of this weekend's foes.

If you want to read their original takes on these teams, please check out these Columbia and Cornell K!Y!F! posts from January.

Additionally, if you cover a team the Tigers will face down the line, let us know. It would be great to talk with you.

Columbia update:

The biggest news to report is actually something that's stayed the same, Columbia still doesn't know how to win close Ivy League games. After losing to Princeton and Penn by a combined six points during the first Ivy weekend at Levien Gymnasium the Lions have continued to be cursed. All but one of their league games, a blowout over a Sean McGonagill-less Brown team, have been decided by five points or less and the Lions are just 2-5 in those contests. In their last outing against Yale Columbia allowed the Bulldogs to come back from 21 points down to win the game by a point.

Columbia doesn't react well to pressure defense, but that's not point guard Brian Barbour's fault. He's really developing into a quality point guard during his junior season. Since having just one assist against Princeton he's put up four or more in every game since except for the Harvard contest. In the last two against Brown and Yale he put up nine and seven assists respectively. Barbour and center Mark Cisco have done a good job working on setting up the big man for short jumpers on the wings, a shot that Cisco excels at.

Also, Meiko Lyles, who struggled early in conference play and scored just four points the last time out against Princeton, came back to life a bit last weekend. He scored 17 points in both games. Lyles goes as his three-point shooting goes and he was 10-16 from beyond the arc over the past two games. That helped Columbia find a scorer outside of Cisco and Barbour and made the offense more respectable.

The defense though is still where this team hangs its hat. Since the Princeton game the only league game where Columbia has allowed over a point per possession was against Harvard - in a very slow 54 possession game that Columbia lost by five. The defense has gotten better at taking away what teams what to do in the half court. Against Yale it was transition off of turnovers in the press that cost Columbia the game.

The other thing you might see that's new is Van Green. The sophomore has started getting some minutes off the bench. He's played 11+ minutes in every Ivy game since the Princeton game and is a solid scorer who can get on the glass for a guard. He should at least get some minutes in the rotation as Columbia continues to basically play three guards in most games.

Hope that helps! Should be a fun one on ESPNU on Friday night.

- John

Cornell update:

Hey Tiger fans,

Jon has asked me to get all of you up to speed on Cornell since the Jan. 13 meeting in Ithaca. Thanks to Jon for the invite. Big fan of his work.

Cornell is 4-3 since that 67-59 win over the Tigers, with four wins in its last five games. Last weekend, CU swept Yale (85-84 in OT) and a Sean McGonagill-less Brown (72-63). Cornell is now 9-2 at home and 1-10 on the road.

Two key developments for the Big Red since the last time these two teams met. First, point guard Chris Wroblewski is playing terrific, and his shot seems to have returned. In the Yale win he had 18 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Second, junior guard Johnathan Gray has emerged as a viable scoring threat, despite times this season and last when it looked like he had played himself out of Bill Courtney’s seemingly endless rotation.

Gray scored 29 against Yale, then followed up with 16 points and nine rebounds in the Brown win. For those unfamiliar with Gray, he’s an athletic 6-foot-3 off-guard, an extremely streaky shooter, a good slasher, tough in transition, and a historically poor decision-maker. It’s improved decision-making, above all, that has led to his emergence. His shot selection is much better, and he’s playing well off Wroblewski.

Rebounding and offensive efficiency remain Cornell’s two biggest issues. Both can be attributed to the lack of any physical interior presence. Defensively, Cornell is deep, athletic (for an Ivy), quick and relentless. In eight Ivy games, CU is +29 on turnovers.

In Ithaca, Cornell went four guards on Princeton, spread the floor and let its penetrators go to work. (At the other end, Doug Davis also missed a lot of open shots he typically makes). Again, it’s Princeton’s size and physicality against Cornell’s quickness and array of small lineups. I’m still not sure how Cornell outrebounded Princeton in the first go-round. Doubt very much it’ll happen again.

Bests to all,

Brian Delaney

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