Will 2014 finally be the year the Dean’s Cup returns to Morningside?

The Deans’ Cup is an annual charity basketball game between the law schools of Columbia University and New York University (NYU). First held in 2002, the game raises money for public interest and community service organizations at both universities.

Columbia looks to bounce back from last year’s crushing buzzer-beating 70-67 loss and snap a five-year losing streak, while NYU seeks its tenth victory in the event’s thirteen-year history.

Despite Columbia’s track record, there are reasons for optimism this year. The seven returning players from last years’ squad (Regwood Snipes, Mathew Cable, Caitlin Hyduke, Wyatt Littles, Joseph Guzman, Nick Scott and Stacey Wong) are on a mission for redemption. Captain Nick Scott (JD ’14) is particularly determined this year despite his nagging injuries. He would disqualify NYU’s victory last year, pointing to a scoring inaccuracy that had the two teams tied going into the final possession, but really Columbia should have been up by two.

In addition to being motivated, the players are capable both physically and skill-wise.

There’s no denying the squad is undersized and will have some difficulty scoring in the paint if NYU can present a solid frontcourt. However, the team can effectively play small ball, capitalizing on their athleticism and ball handling ability on fast breaks. Wyatt Littles (JD ’15) is finally feeling good physically, after sustaining an ACL injury in 2012, effortlessly draining jumpers from all over the court during the team’s Monday night practice. Caitlin Hyduke (JD ’14), a heavily recruited high school athlete who played college ball at Harvard, is also looking solid and will hopefully continue to build on last year’s effort to bolster female presence at the oft male-dominated game.

Oddly, history is also on Columbia’s side. In 2008, one year after the Lions fell short in the final minute after clawing their way back from a 12-point deficit, Columbia routed its downtown rival 83-68. While the two schools haven’t played an official scrimmage, Columbia’s matchup against NYU during a lawyer’s league game earlier this month suggests that history might indeed repeat itself.

The 2014 edition will be held at Columbia University’s Dodge Fitness Center on Tuesday, March 25.

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 11.52.35 AM