Opinion | Editorial Board

Roaring for the men’s basketball record-setters

We all know that every Columbian’s favorite pastime is to complain about how we have no school spirit or sense of community. But during this Friday’s men’s basketball game, and the games soon to come, we’ll have the opportunity to fight that stereotype by showing up for a team we’re proud of, even if it isn’t in the way we initially envisioned.

Last Friday, students—including some members of our editorial board—arrived at Princeton’s Jadwin Gymnasium hoping that the Columbia men’s basketball team would win its ninth Ivy game of the season. A victory at Princeton would have brought the Lions one step closer to ending their 48-year-long Ivy title drought.

Columbia lost. And despite the Lions’ 93-65 win last Saturday at Penn, their hopes of winning an Ivy title are now barely alive.

But not all is lost—not even close. With the Princeton defeat behind us, we urge Columbians to continue packing the bleachers of Levien as the Lions work toward another goal that’s also been nearly five decades in the making: breaking the school record for the most men’s basketball games won in a single season.

The men’s basketball team has gone to the NCAA Tournament three times, most recently in 1968, when they won their first—and only—Ivy title to date. But that wasn’t all. That 1968 team, led by future NBA players Jim McMillian and Dave Newmark, also set a school record by winning 23 games.

TJ Givens / Senior Staff Designer

The Lions have won 20 games so far this season. They’re scheduled to face off against Brown and Yale this Friday and Saturday, respectively. Although a double victory against Brown and Yale is far from guaranteed, especially since Yale is currently ranked first in the Ivy League, Columbia has a chance of climbing to 22 wins over the weekend. And with potential tournament games forthcoming, there will likely be plenty of opportunities for more victories.

Columbians can trust the Lions to put up a good fight throughout the remaining games of the season. There’s no denying that the Columbia men’s basketball team is exceptionally strong this year—senior guard Maodo Lo, for example, boasts an off-the-dribble shot better than some NBA players.

We’ve been happy to see that attendance at Columbia’s home Ivy League basketball games has been consistently high this semester—an average of about 2,480 students have filled Levien, which has a seating capacity of 2,500, during each game.

There’s no doubt that turnout at Columbia’s Ivy home games has been positively affected by rumors of Columbia’s potential to win a second Ivy League title. But win or lose, Ivy title or no Ivy title, Columbia students should always support the Lions—if not by attending their games, then at least by rooting for them in spirit. It’s simply a part of being an active member of the Columbia community.

This season, with the men’s basketball team on the brink of making history, school spirit is more important than ever.

We look forward to seeing you in Levien this Friday.

The authors are members of Spectator’s 140th editorial board.

To respond to the letter, or to submit an op-ed, contact opinion@columbiaspectator.com.

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