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For Kentucky, it’s time to wake up before North Carolina comes to town

The Lions held the lead for nearly 24 minutes in Rupp Arena against Kentucky, the No. 1 team in the nation.

Andrew Harrison - photo by Walter Cornett |

Andrew Harrison – photo by Walter Cornett |

In some ways, a flat performance against Ivy League visitor was to be expected from the No. 1-ranked University of basketball team.

Its last game was a big win over No. 6-ranked Texas, a game in which the Wildcats were pushed as hard as they have been all season. Its next game, on Saturday, comes in a national TV matchup against North Carolina.

So in retrospect, maybe the Wildcats' lackluster 56-46 win before a Rupp Arena crowd of 22,112 shouldn't be too big a shock.

And yet, it is. Columbia, as an Ivy League member, doesn't give athletic scholarships. Its last basketball All-American was Chet Forte in 1951, and he later became best known not for his hoops exploits, but as the first director of Monday Night Football.

Let's put it this way. Kentucky has produced 43 first-round NBA Draft picks in its storied basketball history. Columbia has produced 43 Nobel Prize laureates. It also has churned out 28 Academy Award winners, 20 living billionaires, three U.S. Presidents and five of the nation's Founding Fathers. That's old school — literally.

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