Tomorrow night, the Cats take on the Columbia Lions in their last cupcake before a three-game slate of heavyweights. What do you need to know about the Fighting Blair Waldorfs? I’m glad you asked.
1. Yes, that Columbia
As in the Ivy League school in New York City. Located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan, Columbia is the fifth oldest institution of higher learning in America, founded in 1754 as King’s College by royal charter of George II. Columbia occupies more than six city blocks, or 32 acres. Notable alumni include five of the Founding Fathers, nine Supreme Court Justices, 43 Nobel Prize laureates, 20 living billionaires, 28 Academy Award winners, and 29 heads of state, including 3 US Presidents.
It’s also the fictional home of Blair Waldorf, Serena Van der Woodsen, Jessie Spano, Mitchell Pritchett, Meadow Soprano, and Peter Parker, aka “Spider-Man” (but only in the movies, not the comics).
2. Their home gym only seats 3,408 people
So, Rupp Arena may be a bit of a shock. In fact, through their seven games combined this year, the Lions have only played in front of 9,694 fans. Total. All together. Oh boy.
3. Only one player averages in double figures
Junior guard Maodo Lo, who averages 16.1 points per game. Lo is German and played with the German National Team this past summer alongside Dennis SchrÃ¶der of the Atlanta Hawks. Lo is the one Columbia player Slice Rohrssen mentioned in his press conference earlier today. “Their point guard is the guy that makes them go, their leading scorer,” Slice said. “It’s a ball-control team. They like to have control of the basketball. They’ll test your patience defensively with their style of play.”
4. Lo is a German cover boy
Little known fact: Brian Long had a similar cover for “Garden State Ballerz” when he enrolled at Kentucky.
5. They’re #118 in the KenPom ratings
Kentucky is #1. For better perspective, here’s where all of UK’s opponents have ranked this season:
Grand Canyon: #252
Boston University: #244
Montana State: #311
Texas Arlington: #225
Eastern Kentucky: #158
So, better than EKU, worse than Buffalo.
6. Their star player dropped out of school to keep his eligibility
Last season, 6’7″ Alex Rosenberg led the team in scoring and was voted first-team All-Ivy League, but after fracturing a bone in his foot during practice, he decided to drop out of school to keep his eligibility. Why not just redshirt? The Ivy League doesn’t allow it. Ivy League athletes are expected to use their four years of eligibility in their first four years as enrolled full-time students. They can request a leave of absence to extend eligibility for a fifth year, but it must be in line with academic and career goals, not athletics.
Rosenberg plans to re-enroll at Columbia next year. He’s not allowed to sit on the bench, so he has to watch games from the stands. No word yet if he’ll make the trip to Lexington.
7. They’re 4th in the country in points allowed
Get ready for a defensive showdown! The Lions allow opponents only 50 points per game, which ranks fourth in the country. Of course, UK is first, allowing opponents only 45.8 points per game.
8. Whoever runs their Twitter account really loves #puns
He or she is in store for some fantastic wordplay with Kyle Tucker after the game.
9. For some reason, Julia Louis-Dreyfus stopped by their Elite Camp
— Columbia Basketball (@CULionsMBB) June 16, 2014
Which is cool, because she’s awesome.
10. They’re going to lose
But that’s alright, that’s okay. They can tell their grandkids someday.