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Welcome back to the Trentonian's Full-Court Press blog. Yes, we're still alive, and with the 2015-16 season rapidly approaching, it's time to fire up the old blog for another season. Check back here throughout the year for updates on all things Rider and Princeton, including coverage of both the MAAC and Ivy League. Feel free to drop me a line on twitter @kj_franko ( or email

Friday, February 26, 2016

Princeton Weekend: vs. Columbia; vs. Cornell

Who: Columbia (19-8, 8-2); Cornell (9-15, 2-8) at Princeton (18-5, 8-1)

When: Friday, 6 p.m.; Saturday, 6 p.m., Jadwin Gym

TV/Radio: Columbia —American Sports Network/ WPRB 103.3 FM; Cornell —WPRB 103.3 FM

Previous Meeting: Princeton swept the New York weekend two weeks ago, coming from behind to beat Columbia in overtime in the Saturday game. 

Scouting Columbia: The Lions’ season is on the line. A loss all but eliminates them from the Ivy chase. They had Princeton beat at Levien, but couldn’t hold a nine-point lead in the final three minutes and eventually lost in overtime despite scoring the first seven points of the extra session. Four Columbia players average in double figures, led by senior guard Maodo Lo (16.2 ppg). Jadwin hasn’t been a place the Lions win often. They have lost 22 of their last 23 visits.

Scouting Cornell: The Tigers drilled the Big Red with a huge first half in the first meeting. The key here will be getting up for the game after the huge Columbia game on Friday. Cornell plays at Penn on Friday. The Big Red do have two explosive scorers in Matt Morgan (19.1 ppg) and Robert Hatter (17.3 ppg).

Scouting Princeton: The Tigers know what they need to do. Win their final five games and they can do no worse than a one-game playoff for the Ivy’s automatic NCAA berth. Princeton’s been consistent this season, starting the same five players in all 23 games. Coach Mitch Henderson also has the X-factor in the Ivy race on his bench in freshman Devin Cannady. Cannady saved the Tigers at Columbia with a pair of 3s in the last 10 seconds to force overtime. Princeton is a perfect 10-0 at home.

Inside the Tigers: When it was suggested to ESPN's Bubble Watch that it take a closer look at Princeton, the Tigers' resume was dismissed, but we'll at least present the numbers for you. With an 18-5 record, RPI of 39 and SOS of 122, the computers numbers aren't bad. What hurts the Tigers is a lack of quality wins. They've beat just one opponent in the top 100 (vs. Yale), and while they don't have any bad losses (all five teams they lost to would be in the NCAA Tournament if the season ended today), they are 1-5 against the top 100. Princeton's been impressive in the games its supposed to win and will be favored in its last five beginning Friday night against Columbia. Say the Tigers finish 5-0 and fall to Yale in the Ivy playoff. That would put them at 23-6 overall with an RPI likely in the top 50. Still, the best -- and probably only -- route to the NCAA tourney is through the auto bid.


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