Northwestern basketball upset Iowa tonight, setting up a date with Tom Izzo and Michigan State in the next round of the Big Ten Tournament. And if you're going to bet on this game, like you would at Real Football 365
, you would see that the odds very much in favor of MSU. However, it's difficult to beat the same team three times in a single season, as the very shopworn cliche goes.
MSU beat NU by double digits twice this season. However, Iowa beat Northwestern basketball twice, by 26 points each time, and they were still upset by the Wildcats in Indianapolis. NU is now 3-0 in the state of Indiana. And on day one of the Big Ten Tournament, teams from the state of Illinois represented; while teams from other states that start with the letter "I" were sent packing from the Big Ten Tourney.
Iowa basketball had beaten Northwestern basketball five in a row heading into this one. Now the Hawkeyes have lost seven of their last eight overall; the only win over very hapless Purdue...
broadcaster Bill Walton
granted me an exclusive this week. The video of the entire Q&A is linked here.
I asked Walton his thoughts on Northwestern Coach Chris Collins. Today's devastating home loss to Nebrasketball aside, Collins has some made noise in his first year at the helm, guiding them to .500 in the Big Ten, before the loss to Nebraska today.
The thoughts and opinions of Bill Walton on Chris Collins are transcribed below. Hall of Famer and one of the consensus top 50 players in league history, Walton was joined on the interview by his son, former NBA
player Luke Walton
Together, they are the third father-son duo to win NBA championships. Bill Walton, the #1 overall pick in the 1974 NBA Draft has won numerous individual accolades as well. He's such a big national icon of the game that even his Twitter
parody account, @NotBillWalton
(156,000 followers) is an internet star in his own right.
The real Bill Walton, The Big Red, is one of the most colorful and controversial commentators in basketball history...
Despite today's setback home loss to Iowa, Northwestern basketball coach Chris Collins is playing spoiler to his Big Ten conference rivals. The "spoiler role" is a shopworn sports media cliche, yes I know that.
However, it also truly what the ‘Cats are doing right now. The Wildcats inflicted critical blows to the NCAA Tournament hopes of the Indiana Hoosiers
, (tournament resume/chances
) Illinois Fighting Illini
(don't feel they have a NCAA resume worth writing about right now, hence no link)and Purdue Boilermakers (updated tourney profile
). And that’s all just in the past two weeks.
Here's what the tournament chances and resumes of each of those three traditional B1G powers looks like now: Purdue, Illinois, Indiana. In his debut year of transition, Chris Collins has beaten all three of these programs, who are regular annual attendees to the big dance. As it stands today, the Illini, Hoosiers and Boilermakers are in the same boat as the Wildcats. They all need to either a.) very improbably win about 90% of their remaining games or b.) win the Big Ten Tournament in order qualify for the NCAA Tournament...
Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo is the dean of Big Ten head coaches. As the longest tenured and most accomplished leader in the league he can get away with saying very interesting things during his press conferences. Most players and coaches cannot. They play it vanilla and stay safe most of the time. Tom Izzo has done so much for MSU that even if he decides to rock the boat a little, he'll be fine.
Last night, Izzo's Spartans won 54-40 at Northwestern and after the game Tom Izzo praised NU's rookie head coach Chris Collins
; who's very media savvy in his own way...
You've heard the old adage "win the press conference." Yesterday when Northwestern
University officially introduced Chris Collins
to the media
as the 24th head coach
of NU college basketball
...He definitely "won the press conference."
First of all, Wildcat basketball had the full attention of the Chicago sports media as the presser was held in the larger, wide open area of Welsh-Ryan Arena instead of in the small, cramped media conference room. It was actually on the hardwood court itself. The press conference was broadcast live nationally by the Big Ten Network and locally by Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
Journalists and reporters from all the local television stations and newspapers were there, and they saw Chris Collins wear his heart on his sleeve because that's the kind of guy he is. He got choked up a bit when talking about his family, in one of the press conference's most powerful moments. His father, former Chicago Bulls coach and current Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doug Collins, was in attendance.
And Collins the Younger is excited to get his new regime in place. "I had an opportunity last night to have dinner with the current players. My first goal was to build a connection," Chris Collins said.
And he'll be able to constantly tap a great basketball mind in Collins the Elder.
"We talk daily. As I have gotten older, it has been more give and take," Chris Collins said of his Dad...