#88 Columbia Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Columbia Lions

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #88
Conference Rank: #2 Ivy League

Columbia Team Page#88 Columbia Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Columbia Basketball Tickets

Columbia finished just 8-6 in Ivy League play, tied for third behind Harvard and Yale, but the young team earned a trip to the CIT and made the most of that opportunity. The Lions beat Valparaiso and Eastern Michigan before falling to conference foe Yale in the quarterfinals. Columbia, who split with Yale during the regular season, played quite well in the CIT loss, falling 72-69. Coach Kyle Smith has been building for the 2014-2015 campaign and getting some postseason experience was huge for the program. Alex Rosenberg, a 6-7 forward, led the squad with 16.0 points per game and is a great scorer from everywhere on the floor. He knocked down 43.2 percent of his attempts from long range and went to the charity stripe an impressive 276 times. And once there, Rosenberg knocked down 82.2 percent of his attempts from the free-throw line. He is not a big time rebounder, but Rosenberg will help out on the glass and play solid defense.

2013-14 Record: 21-13, 8-6
2013-14 Postseason: CIT
Coach: Kyle Smith
Coach Record: 63-57 at Columbia, 63-57 overall

Who’s Out:
From Rosenberg to the walk-ons who pick up a few minutes on rare occasions, this team returns absolutely everybody from last year’s team. That is why the Lions are legitimate contenders with Harvard and Yale in the Ivy League this season.

Who’s In:
With so much talent and experience returning, Coach Smith will not need to count on his freshmen much at all. This team already goes at least nine deep and that number could go up to 11 if needed. However, the freshmen trio of Kyle Castin, Nate Hickman and Hasan Ismail will look to make an impact. The three guards have a lot of work to do to crack the regular rotation, but there is hope. Castin is a tough combo guard who can do just about everything. He is a surprisingly tough rebounder for a 6-4 guard and is a very good outside shooter. Hickman, another combo guard, does most of his offensive damage by attacking the basket. He is quick and is never afraid to fight his way to the hoop.

Who to Watch:
For now the backcourt will run through Isaac Cohen, Grant Mullins and Maodo Lo. Cohen is not a scorer, but he did a great job running the team last season, dishing out 3.0 assists per game and limiting his turnovers to 1.6. He is also the team’s best rebounder, with 5.2 per game. Mullins averaged 11.7 points per game, although he was inconsistent with his shooting. But even when his shot is not falling, Mullins can score inside the arc. Lo proved to be a more dynamic scoring threat. He hit an amazing 44.7 percent of his three-point attempts and is the best shooter on a very good shooting team. The backcourt depth is quite impressive with Meiko Lyles, Steve Frankoski, Kendall Jackson and Noah Springwater. Lyles, who started nine games during his junior campaign, will play starter minutes even if he is used off of the bench. He was basically a shooter last season, but back in 2011-2012 Lyles proved that he could get to the basket and finish. That season he averaged 10.6 points per game. Last year that number dipped to 5.7.

Final Projection:
Columbia is not lacking in options up front either. Rosenberg is versatile enough to play the three if Coach Smith wants a bigger team on the floor or if the frontcourt options prove to be better than the backcourt options. Cory Osetkowski figures to start at the center spot after averaging 7.5 points and 3.9 rebounds in 2013-2014. The 6-11, 258 pound senior is a decent shot blocker as well and will at least eat up a lot of space. Luke Petrasek earned 18 starts as a freshman and got better as the season progressed. He would be the likely starter beside Osetkowski in those situations when Coach Smith needs a bigger team on the floor. Jeff Colby and Zach En’Wezoh are both 6-8 and 220 pounds and earned a few quality minutes last season. Coach Smith took a group with no expectations and turned them into one of the biggest surprises in the country. There is depth and plenty of experience and this group will get out of the gate in a hurry and build off of their CIT run.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Isaac Cohen, Junior, Guard, 3.5 points per game
Grant Mullins, Junior, Guard, 11.7 points per game
Maodo Lo, Junior, Guard, 14.7 points per game
Alex Rosenberg, Senior, Forward, 16.0 points per game
Cory Osetkowski, Senior, Center, 7.5 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.0 (253rd in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.3 (32, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.6 (150, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.8 (128, 4)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.2 (25, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.7 (28, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 77.5 (5, 1)
Rebound Margin: 2.8 (90, 3)
Assists Per Game: 12.3 (198, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.1 (156, 5)


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