Entering tonight’s Columbia-Brown game, it didn’t seem that any other Ivy League team was catching the league leaders, Yale and Harvard. Following tonight’s CU-BU, it is now clear the conference title with fall either of the teams from Cambridge and New Haven, respectively: in a game where it seemed officials felt the need to interject themselves into the conversation, the Lions dropped the Bears, 70-68, despite a 20-point outing from Brown guard Sean McGonagill.
Three technicals were called in the contest, and the game was largely decided at the free throw line. One play in particular defined the game’s topsy-turvy nature: Steven Spieth missed a long-range attempt, one that would have given Brown the edge with seconds remaining, and fell to the ground, which impeded the progress of Maodo Lo and was promptly whistled for the foul. The resulting free throws gave CU the lead, and ultimately, the win.
The most interesting aspect of the contest, though, was the gigantic free throw disparity between both teams. Columbia is hack-happy, posting a free throw rate that ranks amongst the bottom of the conference. More than a quarter of league opponents’ points come from the stripe, but Brown only attempted six free throws (while Columbia was 15 of 19 from the line).
Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.
Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.
Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.
The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.
John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.
We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.
For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.
Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.