Columbia picked to finish 7th in Ivy League

The Ivy League released its men's basketball preseason poll on Wednesday, and Columbia was voted to finish seventh in the eight-team league.

Princeton was picked to win the conference, with Harvard coming in second. Cornell -- which went to the Sweet 16 last season but lost four of five starters and its head coach, Steve Donahue (to Boston College) -- finished third in the poll.

On the Ivy League's preseason coaches conference call on Wednesday, first-year Columbia coach Kyle Smith -- hired in May after serving as an assistant at St. Mary's (Calif.) for nine years -- said preseason practices are going well thus far. "We're getting to know each other, sorting things out," Smith said. "Going hard in practice and really excited -- good enthusiasm."

Columbia will be led on the floor this season by junior shooting guard Noruwa Agho, who averaged 16.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game last season, shooting 44.6 percent from 3-point range.

"He's got a tremendous work ethic," Smith said of Agho. "He really wants to be a good player, and he really wants to be a good all-around player."

Columbia opens up its season on the road at LaSalle on Fri. Nov. 12, and faces an even tougher test at St. John's on Nov. 17.

"We don't want to put a lot of pressure on us in terms of wins and losses," Smith said. "It's a process. We just wanna get better every day."