For the last four seasons, Northwestern hoops inspired the media to contemplate the possibility of the Wildcats making the NCAA Tournament. Given how many sports media members are NU or Medill alums, you can understand why there was so much coverage. There will be no "will they make the big dance" speculation this year, but they can still make the NIT with a couple signature wins. A tourney bid requires a miracle run through the Big Ten Tournament, where they will likely be seeded 9th-11th. Chances are made even more poor when considering they’ve never even made it past the quarterfinals in the tourney’s 14 year history.
Been a really rough season for Northwestern hoops on the injury front. They’ve lost their best player in Drew Crawford, their best rebounder in Jared Swopshire, JerShon Cobb to academic issues. Northwestern hoops is now playing college basketball games with just 7 scholarship players, and it showed versus the Illini and Badgers. There were more than a few airballs released Sunday night. They shot a putrid 19% from 3, 25% for the game versus Illinois. “There was just no flow to the offense,” Bill Carmody said after losing to Illinois.
In the first half, versus Wisconsin, they had a whopping four baskets and 12 points. They blew a chance to bolster their NIT resume by losing to the 19th ranked team. “We have a hard time putting the ball in the basket, our rebounding was anemic, I’m not sure of the answer,” Carmody said. “But you have to make shots.”
The ‘Cats have made 4 NITs in a row, meaning John Shurna, the program’s all time leading scorer went every year. It’s strange to make 4 NITs in a row, usually you “bounce up” one year, or just fall down to the CBI, CIT or worse, which seems to be happening. Staying at the NIT level of just above mediocrity but not really good for so long is weird.
So let’s look at their resume. 13-14, 4-10 in the Big Ten. RPI 117
Key wins: Illinois RPI 29, Minnesota RPI 15 Baylor RPI 55
Bad losses: did you watch the two Iowa games? I hope for your sake you didn’t. UIC RPI 118, Nebraska RPI 106
Therefore, they’ll have to win three of their last four, get a resume win over Ohio State and/or Michigan State, and please don’t lose to Penn State. If they can get above .500 overall, which might require a win or two in the Big Ten Tournament they could make the NIT.
A Fulbright scholar, author and MBA, Banks has appeared on the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.
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