The Columbia basketball team participates in its heaviest weekend of the season when it opposes Harvard at Cambridge tonight and Dartmouth at Hanover on Monday. The Lions enter their New England jaunt with possession of third place in the Eastern Inter-collegiate League and with a season record of eight victories and four defeats.
There is little doubt that the Morningsiders are not as effective on the court as they were on paper before the current campaign opened last December. With Captain John O'Brien, Tom Macioce, Ed Anderson, Cliff Wolf, and Stan Leggett returning as experienced veterans, it was expected that Coach Paul Mooney would have a club whose calibre would at least equal that of the 1936 undefeated League champion.
But when Cliff Wolf tore a ligament in his left knee against Springfield, the second game on the schedule, the prophecies made by local sports scribes faded into history and left Mooney the difficult task of reorganizing his combination. This he did immediately, but success was not apparent until Wednesday night when the Lions completely outclassed Penn's quintet by a margin far greater than the 39-to-33 score indicates.
Mooney inserted into his starting lineup Sophomores Jack Naylor and Sam Retano. Both underclassmen are last and alert but it took them a while to fit into the Varsity picture. Wednesday night they proved they were out of the apprentice class with Naylor very effective on the offense on sudden dashes and Retano outstanding on the defense.
The starting lineup which now finds Anderson and Naylor at the forward posts, Macioce at center, and O'Brien and Retano as guards is good--as good as the team on paper in which Wolff was expected to star.
On past record, both Harvard and Dartmouth will probably be rated as favorites over the Blue and White. However, the chances are that both tilts will be close with the Crimson and the Indians faced with a fast, shifty, tireless five that thrives on keen competition and loves flashy play.