Tonight, the Cats take on the Ottawa University Braves in their first exhibition game of the season. Before tonight’s 7 p.m. tip on SEC Network Plus (online only!), let’s learn a few things about these black and gold Braves from Ottawa.
This is the Ottawa in Kansas, not Canada
Common mistake. Ottawa University is in Ottawa, Kansas, a town along the Marais des Cygnes River with a population of 12,649. (Marais des Cynges means “Marsh of the Swans” in French.) Only 630 students attend Ottawa University, making it one of the smallest schools Kentucky has played, surely. The school was founded in 1865 as a Baptist missionary school to help children in the Ottawa Indian tribe. Eventually, it became a college.
Mitch Barnhart went there
…which is why we’re playing them tonight. Barnhart graduated from Ottawa in 1981, and is one of the most notable alumni, according to ye olde Wikipedia. Other notable alums:
- Wayne Angell, former Federal Reserve governor, Kansas State Representative and Bear Stearns chief economist
- Leonard Erickson, notable researcher of DNA repair
- Howard K. Gloyd, herpetologist, credited with describing several new species of reptile
- Robin Harris, comedian and creator of “BÃ©bÃ©’s Kids”
- Merritt C. Mechem, territorial Supreme Court justice and one-term Republican governor of New Mexico
- Derrick Ward, National Football League (note that Derrick Ward played football for Ottawa University for one semester only, and he did not graduate from the institution)
No offense to all of those people, but I can see why Barnhart is on the list.
They play in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference
That’s in the NAIA. Other schools in the KCAC? Southwester, Oklahoma Wesleyan, Kansas Wesleyan, McPherson, Saint Mary, Sterling College, Tabor College, Bethel College, Bethany College, and the ever-so-pleasant Friends University. How do we get them on the schedule??
They’ve already lost a game
The Braves lost to Baker University 82-74 on Saturday in front of a crowd of 220. They shot 33.3% from the floor, 15% from behind the arc, and 79% from the free throw line. Those first two stats don’t scare me, but given Kentucky’s pathetic 13-30 free throw performance in the Blue/White game, let’s try not to send them to the line too often, okay guys?
Marcus Lee actually had a friend who went there
“I actually had a friend who went to Ottawa,” Lee told reporters on Friday. “She played for the volleyball team and then transferred somewhere else. I actually knew of the school before playing them.”
That Marcus Lee, always one step ahead of the rest of us.
The last time they defeated an NCAA Division I team?
1916-1917, when they beat Wichita State…twice! Take that, Shockers!
Whoever writes their game notes quoted Jerry Tipton
“The revolving door that is Kentucky basketball nearly spun off its axis three years ago. The top six scorers from the 2012 national championship team departed for the NBA. UK forged ahead erratically with another class of heralded freshmen, a holdover point guard with one season of college experience, a transfer with the reputation as a shooter and a forward who personified untapped potential.
Kentucky finds itself in a position similar to where it was entering the 2012-13 season: a mostly new cast of characters saddled with a tough act to follow.
The names have changed: Tyler Ulis the point guard rather than Ryan Harrow; Mychal Mulder the transfer rather than Julius Mays; Alex Poythress the would-be star forward rather than Kyle Wiltjer. (kentuckysports.com – Jerry Tipton).”
Can someone bop Jerry on the head for me for comparing Tyler Ulis to Ryan Harrow? Thanks.
They’re going to lose tonight
But it’s okay. The memories of playing in front of 24,000 fans at Rupp will last a lifetime.