• Columbia opens up its 107th season of college basketball when they visit No. 6 Villanova.
• The Lions finished the 2016-17 campaign with an 11-16 overall record and were 5-9 in Ivy League play, narrowly missing out on the fourth and final spot at the inaugural Ivy League Tournament.
• Senior guard Kyle Castlin returns after missing all of
• Villanova enters 2017-18 as the preseason favorite to win the BIG EAST after a 32-4 campaign and a trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Junior guard Jalen Brunson was named a preseason All-American after averaging 14.7 points and 4.1 assists in 36
• Columbia and Villanova will meet for the seventh time with the Wildcats holding a 4-2 record in the series. In the last matchup, the Lions upset Villanova, 75-57, at the Pavilion on Nov. 20, 2012, marking the program’s first win over a member of the BIG EAST since the 1985-86 season.
• The Lions will be looking for its first win over a ranked foe since 1994.
The Wildcats topped Drexel, 87-68, in an exhibition contest on Nov. 1. The game raised funds to benefit hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Brunson scored 16 points in the win. Head coach Jay Wright is in his 17th season at the helm of Villanova.
COLUMBIA VS. THE BIG EAST
Columbia is 27-45 against teams currently in the BIG EAST. The Lions knocked off Villanova on the road, 75-57, on Nov. 20, 2012, St. John’s is Columbia’s most common
LET'S GET IT STARTED
Columbia is to 78-38 all-time in season openers. Last year, the Lions posted a 73-66 victory at Stony Brook on Nov. 11.
COLUMBIA VS. RANKED OPPONENTS
The Lions are 6-43 all-time against teams ranked in the AP Top-25. Columbia's last win technically came against No. 14 Cal in December of 1994 due to the Bears having to forfeit the contest for playing an ineligible player. On the court, the Lions last defeated No. 14 Rutgers, 85-75, on Dec. 2, 1976. Columbia is 0-2 against sixth-ranked squads (Illinois - NCAA Tourney: Mar. 20, 1951, North Carolina: Dec. 19, 1966).
AGENT “0” RETURNS
After missing all of the 2016-17
After a summer training with NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler, sophomore point guard Mike Smith will look to build on a stellar rookie season where he scored 368 points, a Columbia record for a first-year. Smith started every game in 2016-17 and scored in double-figures in 19 of 27 games on his way to averaging 13.6 points per contest. He was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week on January 16 and led all Ivy League freshmen, dishing out 3.5 assists per game.
BAIN ELEVATED TO ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH
Jean Bain was elevated to associate head coach in July 2017. Bain served in the same capacity at Dartmouth from 2012-16. Bain, a 2002 graduate of Northeastern, works with Columbia’s perimeter players and serves as the program’s recruiting coordinator. He is also responsible for scouting opponents and player development.
COACHING STAFF IVY LEAGUE “EDUCATED”
In addition to head coach Jim Engles and Bain, assistant coach Jesse Agel is also familiar with the Ivy League. Agel served as the head coach at Brown from 2008-12.
CJ DAVIS OUT FOR SEASON
Junior guard CJ Davis will miss the entire 2017-18 campaign while recovering from a back injury. Davis remains enrolled at Columbia.
LIONS PICKED FIFTH IN PRESEASON IVY LEAGUE POLL
The Lions were predicted to finish fifth in the preseason Ivy League poll, conducted by selected members of the media. Columbia received 55 voting points. All four teams that qualified for the inaugural Ivy League Tournament were selected in the top-four in 2017-18. Harvard edged out Yale as the early favorites, with the Crimson receiving 121 points and six first-place votes. The Bulldogs garnered more first-place votes (
LIONS IN THE PROS
Columbia now has a total of five alumni playing professionally.
- Luke Petrasek '17CC (Greensboro Swarm - NBA G League)
- Asenso Ampim '08CC (Union Rennes Basket - France)
- Jeff Coby '17CC (CB Prat - Spain)
- Maodo Lo '16CC (Brose Bamberg - Germany)
- Alex Rosenberg '16CC (Bnei Herzelia - Israel)
The 2017-18 season marks the 50th Anniversary of Columbia's Ivy League Championship squad. Under the direction of head coach Jack Rohan, Lions posted an overall record of 23-5 overall and 12-2 in Ivy League play, clinching the NCAA auto-bid by defeating Princeton, 92-74, in a playoff game. Columbia defeated La Salle before falling to Davidson, 61-59, in the East Region Semifinal. Future NBA standout Jim McMillian averaged 22.3 points and 9.8 rebounds to lead the Lions.