Columbia defeats UC Irvine, 73-67, to win CIT championship and end an era

I have spoken, written, and typed many words about Columbia sporting events since I first stepped on campus and tonight I used a word to describe the experience that I had not used before: fun. Tonight’s environment in Levien felt more like an Ivy clincher than the championship game of a fourth-tier, mid-major only, buy-your-home-court-advantage tournament with teams selected in part by San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates. It was the first postseason tournament victory for the Ivy League in more than 40 years but more importantly than that, it was a happy ending to many eras.

Read moreColumbia defeats UC Irvine, 73-67, to win CIT championship and end an era

Columbia readies for UC Irvine in CIT final

NEW YORK — For Columbia, getting past UC Irvine and winning the CIT title will be a tall order — in every sense of the word.

The Anteaters’ defense is ranked 36th in the country in KenPom in opponent-adjusted points per possession (96.7). They’re probably the toughest defensive puzzle the Lions will have to solve this season outside of Yale.

The big reason for UC Irvine’s defensive success is the presence of 7-foot-6 center Mamadou N’Diaye. After introducing himself to the country with a strong performance in a narrow loss to Louisville in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, the Senegal product has turned in his best statistical effort this year.

Read moreColumbia readies for UC Irvine in CIT final