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Former Columbia basketball player Mike Smith decided to transfer to Michigan for graduate school where he now is a part of one of the favorites to win in the upcoming March Madness tournament. (Marc-Gregor Campredon | CC BY-SA 2.0)

March Madness is back — for most. 

After the tournament was canceled a year ago due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament will return this year on March 19. Unfortunately for the Ivy League, there will not be any teams from the Ancient Eight participating in this year’s tournament after the league canceled the winter season. However, there will be a handful of graduate transfers from around the Ivy League who will still look to make an impact this year in March Madness. 

Mike Smith — Michigan (Transferred from Columbia)

After an illustrious four years playing for the Lions, Mike Smith finished fourth on Columbia's all-time scoring list, second in assists, tied for fourth in steals, and third in free-throw percentage. 

During his senior season before the COVID-19 outbreak, the two-time second team All-Ivy guard led the Ivy League and ranked No. 6 in the NCAA in points per game. 

Smith chose to transfer to Michigan over schools like Gonzaga, Arizona, and Seton Hall for his last year of eligibility. The former Columbia standout has played in all 24 games for the Wolverines this year, averaging 9.1 points per game and 5.4 assists per game. Michigan will enter March Madness as one of the favorites to win it all, as they are the Big 10 regular season champion and No. 1 seed in the East Region, boasting a 20-4 record. 

Jordan Bruner — Alabama (Transferred from Yale)

During his time with the Bulldogs, Jordan Bruner compiled 149 blocked shots and 647 rebounds, ranking him fourth and tenth respectively on Yale's all-time lists, despite missing a season due to injury. In his freshman year, Bruner led the team in blocks coming off the bench, and by the end of his senior season, the forward from Columbia, S.C. was named to both the first team All-Ivy and the Academic All-Ivy Team. Additionally, Bruner recorded the first triple-double in Yale history during a 81-80 double-overtime win over Cornell. 

After his final season with Yale was cut short, Bruner chose to transfer and play for the Crimson Tide over schools like Baylor and Maryland. During this past season, the former Bulldog started in all 21 games that he played in, missing nine games to injury. Bruner averaged 6.1 points per game and 4.2 rebounds per game. Alabama is entering as a No. 2 seed in the East Region after winning both the Southeastern Conference (SEC) regular season championship and the SEC Tournament. The Crimson Tide have a 24-6 record and will hope to make a deep run in this year’s March Madness. 

Seth Towns — Ohio State (Transferred from Harvard)

Before transferring to Ohio State, Seth Towns missed the previous two seasons due to knee injuries, but the former Harvard guard was the 2017-18 Ivy League Player of the Year after averaging 16.0 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game. He also shot 44.1% from three-point range that season. Arguably the best graduate transfer on the market, Towns chose to play for the Buckeyes over schools such as Duke, Kansas, Virginia, Syracuse, Michigan, and Maryland. 

During this past season with Ohio State, Towns played in 24 games, averaging 3.9 points per game while shooting 43.8% from the field. Although the former Crimson did not have the same statistical success as he's accustomed to, Towns proved to be an invaluable player coming off the bench as the Buckeyes finished the season 21-9 and won the Big 10 Tournament. Ohio State will enter the NCAA Tournament the No. 2 Seed in the South Region.