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

In the opening half of Ivy League play we published seven different Know! Your! Foe! interviews with seven different experts on each Princeton opponent.

What to do for the home stretch of the conference schedule? Each able interview subject has been asked back on board to provide a refresher on how the team they initially talked about has been performed since we last conversed.

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

Both do excellent work 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:

To be naive and wandering through the wilderness. Columbia came into the Penn/Princeton road weekend full of hope. Now, as the Quakers and Tigers prepare to return the favor, things have changed dramatically. Some unlucky breaks and some poor play have hurt Columbia during the past few weekends, leaving them tied for last place in the Ivy League with Dartmouth.

This is not how people expected things to go. Once again though the Lions can't seem to win the close games. A three-point home loss to Cornell, a four-point road loss to Penn, a six-point road loss to Princeton, a three-point home loss to Dartmouth, a three-point road loss at Brown (without Brian Barbour). And then the wheels fell off.

Last Saturday at Yale was probably Columbia's worst game offensively all season. (It was according to points per possession.) All of a sudden turnovers have become a huge problem. Considering the Lions' biggest strength coming into Ivy League play was that they don't turn the ball over, seeing them give it away recently has been alarming. The defense was never going to be great, but it was going to be good enough for Kyle Smith's team to stay in games, but the shooting hasn't been there.

That doesn't mean Columbia is done. Not at all. On February 10 the Lions let go of all their frustration in a 15-point win over Harvard. That happens to be the Crimson's only loss in Ivy League play thus far. Good, hot shooting Columbia was back and the defense was good enough too.

Steve Frankoski was a big part of that win. He's played well recently, getting a lot of minutes and responding with quality scoring outputs. I would expect him to score more than the eight points he did against the Tigers the first time out. On the other hand, Mark Cisco's minutes have disappeared during the past three games. The senior has good tempo-free numbers, but in the past two games Smith has tried other players, even starting Skyler Scrivano against Yale.

Who knows which Columbia team will show up on Friday night?

See you on Friday!

- John

Cornell update:

The guess here is those Tiger fans who sat in Jadwin Gymnasium on Feb. 1 and watched Princeton dismantle Cornell 76-59 are sitting now wondering, "How the hell is Cornell 5-3?"

It's a good question.

The Big Red is 4-1 since the Princeton loss, starting with a come-from-behind win at Penn, a come-from-behind two-point loss to Harvard, a blowout of Dartmouth and a road sweep of Yale-Brown last weekend. A Big Red fan base that had been grousing about rotations and half-court offenses is also curious at this development.

Here's the obvious: the team's sudden growth has developed through consistent ball security and MUCH better play from two seniors: Jonathan Gray and Errick Peck. Neither of those guys had much to say in Princeton on Feb. 1 – Gray scored six points and turned it over three times. Peck played only 14 minutes and, well, was fairly invisible. (Let it be said here that defensively, while Shonn Miller has continued to play at an elite level protecting the rim, Cornell’s opponents are still consistently shooting high percentages.)

In the last five games, Gray and Peck are averaging 13.0 and 13.4 points per game, respectively, while shooting 51 percent and 57 percent from the floor. In that span, Gray has hit on 14 of 30 shots from the three-point arc. Collectively, Cornell is shooting 47.7 percent and 38.9 percent during this five-game stretch. For a team that has struggled to be consistent on offense all season, not to mention the bulk of Bill Courtney's tenure, the past five games have felt like a turning point to most.

Princeton's personnel, however, is so unlike anybody else's that I don’t know how much any of that matters. Cornell will definitely try to speed the Tigers up, but Mitch Henderson's long list of tall, intelligent and pass-friendly players can see over traps and distribute the ball downcourt effectively. Hummer and Koon are so versatile that they can catch 15 feet from the basket and back their man down into the post – unlike, say, Mark Cisco, who can be easily denied the ball down low. So for Cornell to pull this out, something close to a repeat of last year’s game in Ithaca (a 67-59 Cornell win) probably needs to happen: The Big Red plays a strong game offensively, and their quickness makes them tough to guard. Defensively, they play with great energy but also get a lot of help in the form of missed open shots.

It should, at the least, be a fun weekend. If Cornell beats Penn tonight, then it enters Saturday's Princeton game on a 5-1 roll AND playing with house money in the Ivy title race. That combination has led to surprising things before.

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