Because Columbia happens to be my hometown Ivy, I attended the Hofstra game tonight. First, a confession: Many years ago, I applied to Columbia, which rejected me. In doing so, the CU admissions office simultaneously displayed amazing good taste while causing permanent and irreparable damage to its institution’s future endowment. Thus, I maintain a certain level of enmity toward this particular school.
In any event, I thought the Lions played a pretty good all-around game—that is if “all-around” refers to Maodo Lo. I was extremely impressed by his ability to control the game. He looked absolutely fearless in handling the point. (I suppose if you’ve stared down No. 1 Kentucky on their home floor and almost won, the Hofstra Pride will not significantly loosen your sphincter tone.) No more Barbour, no more Rosenberg, no more Lyles, the Lions are clearly his team now.
On the other hand, if you can manage to contain him (which isn’t easy), you can probably stop Columbia. At this time, because of his overall weaker supporting cast, I see Lo as the Ivy Player of the Year. Oh sure, Wesley Saunders will get it anyway and he’s a great player (plus he has the Harvard hype machine behind him), but Saunders doesn’t have to carry his team every night. Overall, he’s the best thing to come out of Germany since 99 luftballons.
The other notable observation from this game was the freshman guard Kyle Castlin. Other online casino than Lo, he was easily the most athletic player on the court for either team. Castlin seems to glide across the floor and has a gentle shooting touch. In many ways he reminds me of Jerome Allen circa 1993. (Except of course Jerome was far superior in every way.) I would be extremely disappointed if one of Penn’s freshman players (which now appear to number in the thousands) didn’t nab the Rookie of the Year award, but if one doesn’t, Castlin is a possibility.
And finally, there is the coach himself. From watching Kyle Smith, you could never tell if Columbia was up 20 or down 100, he remained composed throughout. For most of the night the game was close, but the coach’s expression told me the result was never in doubt. I think this air of stability definitely rubs off on his team. Unlike the edgy, butterfingered “Are we winning now?” Penn Quakers, the Lions stay calm and confident. I said before the season began that I thought this would be Kyle Smith’s last year in Morningside Heights. I could be wrong, but if he does come back it would be hard not to see Columbia (Columbia?) as the Ivy favorite for 2016 (he says as he writes yet another gigantic check to the Penn Annual Giving).
Stay Red and Not Light Blue my friends,