The Ivy League made headlines in early March by announcing it would finally be adding an in-conference postseason tournament to determine its automatic berth into the NCAA Men's and Women's Basketball tournaments. It will be the very last Division I conference (out of 32) to make the change.
Of the announcement, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education Peter Pilling had this to say:
"This is an exciting day for Columbia and the Ivy League...Having a postseason tournament will allow us to create an amazing experience for our student-athletes, alumni, and fans."
After posting a 21-win regular season record this year, Columbia Men's Basketball will aim to make noise in playoff competition when the Ivy League implements the new tournament format for the 2016-2017 season. Columbia men's basketball head coach Kyle Smith felt similarly:
"Conference tournaments are a great opportunity to bring our conference together and will give us an opportunity to showcase our amazing student-athletes to a broader audience."
Loaded for Bears
Even before Yale's 4-point upset victory over the Baylor Bears on opening day of this year's NCAA tournament, the Ivy League has developed a reputation in recent years as a bracket buster, outperforming their double digit tournament seeds and spoiling the party for someone in the Round of 64.
...And you don't need to look back far to see similar results.
How Soon They Forget
- 2016 - Yale (12) defeats Baylor (5)
- 2014 - Harvard (12) defeats Cincinnati (5)
- 2013 - Harvard (13) defeats New Mexico (4)
- 2010 - Cornell (12) defeats Temple (5)...then Wisconsin (4)
2016 also saw the Ivy League make history in the women's game. Both Penn and Princeton earned bids to this year's NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament - the first time two teams from the Ivy League have ever made it into the same tournament.
As March winds down, the focus on campus has been on your Columbia Lions, who rocked Levien Gymnasium on March 29 in a championship thriller. In front of their home crowd, Columbia Men's Basketball wrapped up a historic postseason run by defeating UC Irvine and winning the Collegeinsider.com Tournament (CIT) -- their first-ever postseason championship! Their 25 wins this season represents the highest total in program history, as does 15 victories in the friendly confines of Levien Gymnasium.
Keep the celebration going and join the team at the annual Men's Basketball Banquet on April 18.
Did You Know?
- The Lions are making their second CIT postseason appearance in three years.
- The Lions entered the CIT with an overall record of 21-10, the most regular season wins since 1950-51.
- The Lions went 10-4 in Ivy League play, the winningest conference season for the team since 1993.
- The Lions routed Norfolk State in the first round of the 2016 CIT, winning 86-54 and earning a BYE into the Quarterfinals against Ball State.
- 3/29 UPDATE: in front of their home crowd in Levien Gymnasium, The Lions won their first-ever postseason championship, defeating UC Irvine 73-67!
- Maodo Lo '16CC, from Berlin, Germany, scored 16.7 points per game for Columbia, and raised his scoring average in league play to 17.3, good for third in the league. Other highlights:
- During the season, Lo became the Lions' all-time leader in 3-pointers, breaking the record of 189 set by Matt Shannon '89CC, more than a quarter-century ago. His 264 three-pointers place him fifth in Ivy League history.
- Lo's 1,682 career points ranks third in program history, behind only Buck Jenkins ’93CC (1,767) and Jim McMillian '70CC (1,758), and 14th among all Ivy League players.
- Lo averaged 2.3 steals, leading the Ivy League and ranking ninth in the NCAA. His 70 total steals is a new Columbia single-season record, and his 174 steals place him second on the Columbia career list.
- Columbia Men's Basketball class of 2016 is the first group of seniors to win at every Ivy League venue since the class of 1993.
- The Lions' 25 wins in the 2016 regular and postseason represents the highest total in program history.
...And for some bonus fun - take part in our "Columbia Movie Madness" online tournament!