(All stats as of March 6)
Who: Princeton Tigers (17-8, 5-6) at Cornell Big Red (2-24, 1-11)
When/Where: 7 p.m. Friday, Ithaca, N.Y.
Who: Princeton at Columbia Lions (18-11, 7-5)
When/Where: 7 p.m. Saturday, New York, N.Y.
Princeton: G T.J. Bray (6-5, senior, 17.9 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 5.1 APG). C Hans Brase (6-8, sophomore, 11 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.3 APG). F Will Barrett (6-10, senior, 10.4 PPG, 3.5 RPG). F Spencer Weisz (6-4, freshman, 9.8 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.2 APG). F Steven Cook (6-5, freshman, 2.3 PPG, 2.2 RPG).
Cornell: F Dwight Tarwater (6-6, senior, 6.9 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.1 APG). F David Onuorah (6-9, freshman, 3.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG). G Darryl Smith (6-2, freshman, 5.2 PPG, 2.5 RPG). G Devin Cherry (6-3, junior, 12.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 3.3 APG). G Nolan Cressler (6-4 sophomore, 16.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.6 APG).
Columbia: C Cory Osetkowski (6-10, junior, 6.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.7 APG). F Alex Rosenberg (6-7, junior, 16.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG). G Isaac Cohen (6-4, sophomore, 3.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.8 APG). G Meiko Lyles (6-3, junior, 5.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG). G Maodo Lo (6-3, sophomore, 14.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2 APG).
On Princeton: If you follow Princeton basketball, you know the story: the Tigers looked like they would be serious threat to Harvard’s growing dominance after going 12-2 in the nonconference, only to lose their first four Ivy League games. After mixing up the lineup a bit — most notably with freshman Steven Cook, who has added a strong defensive presences — Princeton has quietly clawed back into the middle of the Ivy pack, winning five of its last seven games. If they sweep Cornell and Columbia, the Tigers will have a chance to go for their 20th win of the season at home next Tuesday against Penn. While that isn’t what they hoped they’d be playing for at this time of year, it’s not the worst consolation prize considering how they started.
On Cornell: While if you squint, you can make out some positive developments in Ithaca — sophomore Nolan Cressler is one of the better individual scorers in the league, and the Big Red have a promising freshman duo in David Onuorah and Darryl Smith — the reality is that Cornell is probably one of the worst teams in Division I this year. They have just one win over a DI opponent (beating struggling Dartmouth three weekends ago), and are ranked 332nd of 351 by college basketball analytics guru Ken Pomeroy. They did take Brown to overtime Feb. 22, but the Bears were playing without center Rafael Maia, who is one of the most prolific rebounds in the league.
On Columbia: If the Ivy League had a conference tournament, the Lions would be a popular darkhorse pick to make noise. Though they got drubbed at Harvard last Saturday, they took the Crimson to two overtimes Feb. 14 and effectively ended Yale’s championship aspirations with a 62-46 win Feb. 23 in upper Manhattan. Junior Alex Rosenberg has emerged as a likely first-team All-Ivy player, while sophomore Maodo Lo should get serious consideration for the second team. The Lions figure to be a reasonable candidate for either the CBI or CIT if coach Kyle Smith and company decide to go that route.
— By NICK PERUFFO