For the third time this season I'm expecting Northwestern's season to end with a loss tonight. The first was the Big Ten Quarterfinal game against Ohio State, because I wasn't sure that Northwestern was going to get an invite to the NIT and I knew it wasn't going to play in the CBI or CIT. The second was when the Wildcats played at Boston College. Tonight is the third. (Yeah, I wasn't too worried about Milwaukee at Welsh-Ryan Arena.)
The atmosphere in Pullman promises to be exciting
and this could be one of the better games of the entire NIT. If you want to get warmed up you can catch some other action as Miami (FL) plays at Alabama (8 p.m. CT) and Charleston plays at Wichita State (6 p.m. CT) in two other quarterfinals on ESPN2 earlier tonight.
The favorites in those games are 1 seed Alabama, who KenPom gives a 70% chance of victory, and Wichita State, who KenPom gives an 80% chance of winning. The Shockers are actually a pretty good team, so if you get a chance, take a look at the early games.
Northwestern vs. Washington State
Where: Friel Court, Pullman, Washington
What: NIT Quarterfinals
When: 10 p.m. CT ESPN2
Chances: 37% according to current Ken Pomeroy rankings
What else you need to know:
The Ken Pomeroy predictions for this game don't take into account the fact that DeAngelo Casto isn't playing
for Washington State tonight. That is sort of complicating the analysis for the game. Accuscore's prediction doesn't include Casto in the WSU lineup and it has Washington State as a 53% favorite
(ESPNInsider). Basically, Casto's absence has cost Washington State a 1/10 chance at winning this game. That's a big suspension. Hopefully Northwestern can take advantage of it. Also, Klay Thompson is really good. I'm pretty sure Bill Carmody is aware of this fact, but I'm not sure who is going to guard Washington State's 6'6 sharpshooter. Alex Marcotullio seems a little undersized for the job, JerShon Cobb isn't quite healthy yet. It's possible that the responsibility will fall to Drew Crawford. If he does nothing besides hold Thompson below 20 points then Crawford will have had a good game. We'll see what happens tonight.