For many of us, these games are the only moments we consider the existence of schools like North Alabama, and we wonder things like, I wonder if North Alabama is actually to the north of the University of South Alabama? (It is!)
During yesterday’s Indiana Basketball Weekly podcast, Mike Goodpaster asked me what I knew about North Alabama. I gave my stock answer when I have nothing substantial to offer, “When North Alabama comes to Assembly Hall, you can throw out the record book!” The Lions deserve more than a flippant and dismissive answer.
In order to be good hosts, just as you should know enough about a dinner party guest to ask them a couple of questions, we need to learn a little about the schools that visit IU during this November parade of tomato cans.
Toward that end, here are some fascinating factoids about the Lions:
7 – It is truly North Alabama – only 14 miles south of the Tennessee State Line, and 334 miles north of the University of South Alabama!
6 – Was called Florence State College until six days after Richard Nixon resigned. Nixon’s resignation had nothing to do with the name change, but the proximity between the two events is the only interesting part of the event – to me.
5 – The Union Army burned down the original campus in 1863.
4 – The Lions are 1-1 with a loss to South Carolina and a win against the Carver Bible College Cougars. In that win, UNA had six players score between 12-14 points. ESPN’s Matchup Predictor shows the likelihood of a Hoosiers win is 94.3%.
3 – The UNA Pride of Dixie Marching Band has 210 members – which means that one in every 21 undergraduate students are members.
2 – Three most famous alums of North Alabama are George “Goober” Lindsey of The Andy Griffith Show, NY Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and former University of Alabama basketball coach Wimp Sanderson.
1 – The Lions actually have two live lions on campus that serve as mascots. As of this morning, there have been no injuries or deaths as a result of housing feared predators on university property – at least according to a Google search of “North Alabama lion attack”. Humans in a lion costume attend athletic events rather than the live lions, which seems to be prudent.
Will you enjoy tonight’s IU vs. North Alabama game tonight. Unlikely, but damn it, these schools exist, and now we know just a little bit more about them.
Hopefully, what we learn about North Alabama’s basketball team tonight is that they are not nearly as good as Indiana.