Sunday, January 06, 2008

Follow the Bouncing Ball


John Baumann: The extra "n" is for extra "nasty." (CREDIT: Columbia Athletics)

As we await the avalanche of news on the class of 2012 that will come in the next few weeks, it's nice to know we have a contending basketball team to watch this winter.

The Ivy League men's basketball season tipped off officially today with Tommy Amaker's Harvard Crimson routing Dartmouth at home. Columbia doesn't face it's first Ivy opponent for another two weeks when it visits pre-season favorite Cornell in Ithaca.

I'm no basketball genius, but it would appear inconsistency is the only thing holding back this Lion hoops squad. When player of the year candidate John Baumann gets hot and big 6"8 center Ben Nwachuku avoids silly mistakes, I don't think there's anyone in the league who can beat them.

We shall see.

Something I've always wondered about is how the success of the basketball team helps the football team and vice versa. Columbia's best years on the gridiron in this quarter century followed Buck Jenkins and the bball team's serious run at an Ivy title in 1992-93. (The football team's very strong 1994-96 seasons came just after that).

Basketball stumbled a bit in the mid-90's while the football team got better, and then Craig Austin and friends put together some decent basketball teams from 1999-2001.

It might be a coincidence, but I do think these two teams feed off of each other a bit, first when it comes to recruiting and then when it comes to a winning attitude.

Either way, we should all do whatever we can to support the Lions hoopsters in the coming weeks.

22 Comments:

At Sun Jan 06, 09:50:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure it would be nice if the Columbia basketball team sweeps the opposition, but let's not count on it, or expect it to happen. Columbia will do just fine in football next year regardless of what happens with the roundball. We just need the guys to work hard in the off-season and attract a recruiting class equal to the other Ivy schools. Duke is an example of a college program where the success of one sport (basketball) does not help another (football).

 
At Sun Jan 06, 10:17:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The really important, positive news at Columbia, Jake, is that the New York City Council recently approved the Manhattanville expansion plan which will ensure both the greatness of the University for the next several generations and result in thousands of new jobs for the local community. Hats off to President Bollinger, the New York City Council and everyone else who assisted in making that happen!

 
At Sun Jan 06, 11:43:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An exception on the City Council of course was Charles Barron, the sociopath who poisoned the discussion with his usual racist lies and bile.

 
At Mon Jan 07, 04:02:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

During the basketball halftime interview, Coach Wilson said he has 11 commits, including two RBs, two OLs and a defensive player who commited just before the holidays. So far, based on what Jake and others have posted, we know about 4 of the 11.
Dr.V

 
At Mon Jan 07, 04:08:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charles Barron is a disgrace to his constituency, and to the community. Nobody should take him seriously.

 
At Mon Jan 07, 05:59:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Missed the halftime interview, but it is certainly a good sign for Columbia football that we already have eleven commits including two RBs and two OLs. Obviously, we don't have their names yet, but Scout.com reported last November that we offered a running back from Arizona who looked like a very good prospect. Rivals.com has also reported that several highly rated high school quarterbacks are considering Columbia including one from Loyola Academy in Illinois,the high school Des Werthman attended, and another from Connecticut.

 
At Mon Jan 07, 07:13:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, after the bad loss to American U., do you still think Columbia can run the table in the Ivy League? Nwachukwu, our senior big man, had seven points and five rebounds. Baumann had 11 points. And they are our senior front line.
I think Joe Jones needs to do some very serious recruiting and
some very serious preparation of 7-foot frosh Zach Crimmins to contribute significantly next season, which will be Jones' fifth season as head coach. It will be time for him to move CU to the top
of the Ivy or else to move on.

 
At Mon Jan 07, 08:23:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

I missed the halftime interview with Coach Wilson because I was actually at the game too. I;m not sure if 11 is a good number at this juncture or not, but I'll take any number if it includes enough quality guys.

I NEVER thought we would, "run the table" in bball, (seriously, is there even ONE copyeditor reading this blog? Where do these misconceptions come from?), but I thought we would contend. I'm not as sure now as the offense really struggled. American got lucky with some crazy outside shots, but defense wasn't why we lost. The offense looked very lost from about 5 minutes in.

 
At Mon Jan 07, 11:00:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We might still run the table in Ivy League basketball, but only if Cornell, Brown and perhaps Yale don't come to dinner. At this time, Cornell and Brown are clearly playing better than everyone else in the Ivy League. Dartmouth and Princeton are having miserable seasons while Harvard, Yale and Penn are as inconsistent as Columbia.

 
At Mon Jan 07, 08:19:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our offensive play is horrific. No ball movement; no penetration; and if the threes aren't falling we can't win. At some point you have to wonder if JJ is just a good recruiter but not a very good coach. I have been saying this for the last two years: if the first option isn't there we are lost and run down the clock until somebody takes a crummy shot as time is about to expire. Where is the coaching?

 
At Mon Jan 07, 09:02:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Princeton Basketball has an eleven (11) game losing streak that probably won't end until Princeton plays Dominican on January 30th. I thought Princeton would be pretty good when I saw them play early in the season. Something is really wrong in Tigertown. As far as Columbia Basketball is concerned, the problem is simply that our guards are not nearly as good as the other teams. Coach Jones is a terrific guy, but has been unable to recruit an outstanding point guard to Columbia. If he doesn't do that in the next several months, we will be in very deep trouble next year. If you want a great Ivy League Basketball recruiter, you must look first at Cornell's Steve Donohue or Harvard's Tommy Ammaker before anyone else.

 
At Mon Jan 07, 09:08:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

in response to 01/07/08 @ 5:19;
" Ouch! "

 
At Mon Jan 07, 09:30:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We got beat yesterday by a pretty good American team which has something Columbia deserpately needs: 2 guards who can capably and comfortably take the ball upcourt. (At one point, they were actually playing catch with each other as they did so.) American is Wagner with brains. And as someone else noted, we had no penetration, very few drives to the basket. On the positive side, Mack Montgomery seems to have awakened a bit, he's playing better lately and we need him to score. But Big Ben still hesitates before all his shots near the basket for some odd reason, even the ones he makes. Bauman, however, remains all heart and commitment. Starting Matsui has also turned out to be a pretty good shift.

It's going to be tough to start with 2 games against Cornell. And there is no way we can thus "run the table." But at least a split against Cornell will help boost team morale, and 10-4 as a league record is not out of the question (though whether that'd be good enough to win an Ivy title is). In the meantime, let's hope for a romp against NJIT, similar to that against Brooklyn Poly, as an emotional pick-me-up.

rs

 
At Mon Jan 07, 09:46:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

RS:

Very well-put about American and their brains. They played very smart basketball all day, especially with the way they slowed it down when they took bigger leads. They really seemed well-coached.

 
At Tue Jan 08, 12:07:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Jake, maybe you can give birth to a separate Columbia Basketball blog in your spare time. All kidding aside, it would be great for Columbia Basketball to have its own blog publicizing Columbia Basketball. Until that happens, however, I for one welcome the dialogue about Columbia Basketball on "Roar Lions Roar." The two commentators about the American-Columbia basketball game obviously know their stuff and are asking good questions.

 
At Tue Jan 08, 10:07:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

Looks like an even tougher schedule for the Lions next year. I'd be happy with four wins out of that. But I'd like to see them play closer in the losses and compete better than last years team and then hopefully make a big step in 09 as far as becoming a legit player in the Ivy chase.

 
At Tue Jan 08, 12:43:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I respect dabull's opinion, but it's too early to comment on the team's chances next season. Much depends upon the number and condition of the returning players and the quality of the freshman recruiting class. We only know the names of three or four of the incoming freshmen, but if the balance of the freshman recruits are as talented as those three or four, Columbia could have a very good team this September.

 
At Tue Jan 08, 01:13:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Columbia football needs to get to the point where the success of a football season is NOT determined by the quality of the incoming freshman class. We can't keep counting on freshmen to become major contributors and expect to be competitive with other top Ivy teams, who hardly play any freshment at all.

 
At Tue Jan 08, 09:34:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that, with the announcement of next season's football sked, we're still not honoring our commitment to Duquesne (and it was announced as a commitment) for a home-and-home series. Nor are we yet venturing out to either Georgetown and Iona's home fields (or even Marist's, for that matter), though I have no idea if those games actually represented a contractual home-and-home commitment.

Instead, interestingly, we're off to Towson State, a team we last faced during the Marcellus Wiley era. That there are all these non-Ivy football teams to whom we "owe" (at least morally, given how they allowed Columbia to improve its won-loss record, in Marist's case to supply our lone 2007 win) makes me wonder if these teams aren't somehow being "stockpiled" to provide a truly glittering year some time down the road. 2009, say, as another poster suggested re a serious run at an Ivy title.

Oh well, I hope readers of this blog will show up Saturday at NJIT for the last non-Ivy basketball game, and on the 26th at Levien for Cornell at home. We have a shot at an Ivy title here, and how we do in our opening two games against Cornell will likely indicate just how "legitimate" that shot really is.

rs

 
At Wed Jan 09, 02:37:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

The 10:13 poster has it right. No team is going to be a serious player in the league playing a lot of freshmen. Columbia has done so the last year especially perhaps out of necessity. It's good that the coaches have that high a regard for their young recruits but they need time to grow and mature to lead us out of the bottom spot. We need to get to the point, and I think by 09 we will, where it is a rarity for a freshman to break into the lineup. When this time comes we should start seeing the dividends from 06 and 07 recruits and we should be establishing a solid base of talent with depth and upperclass leadership. I really liked the talent I saw in the young guys playing this year but these guys are just "puppies". They will be so much better as jrs and srs and that's what's so encouraging about the team.

 
At Wed Jan 09, 06:04:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All this discussion is premature. Let's see who's in the recruiting class before we make any judgments about their ability to play as freshman. We certainly agree that in the long run Columbia will be better off playing mostly upperclassman, but we are not quite there yet. So there will be opportunities for the freshman recruits to see more action at Columbia than other Ivy League schools. That's a recruiting positive for Columbia.

 
At Thu Jan 17, 11:57:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

one other thing...

Don't forget that the FR/SO year at Columbia is very demanding (from a time perspective) because of the Core. upperclassmen have much more control of their academic schedules.

 

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