How Special is Northwestern University Basketball?

How Special is Northwestern University Basketball?
I’m a die-hard DePaul Blue Demon basketball fan (yeah I’m that guy), who is also an alum of DePaul.
But the school I know almost as well as my own is Northwestern.
For years I went to football games as a mentor of mine (Thanks Craig), let me tag along to their Saturday gridiron games. You need to visit “Wildcat Alley” if you do, its a nice tailgating experience.
I used to tell people Evanston is special and Northwestern is a big part of that.
I’ve only been to one basketball game at Welsh-Ryan Arena and of course it was against DePaul University, it was back in either 2005 or 2006.
I went with a group of alums and professors and I was a season ticket holder for DePaul at the time so I knew the team well and they lost that game.
It was back when Bill Carmody coached the Wildcats and they ran the conservative “Princeton offense” but DePaul couldn’t figure it out.
Obviously now Northwestern has great success with Chris Collins as their coach and seemed probable to go to the NCAA tournament for the first time ever.
Let me tell you Wildcat fans this is special, DePaul hasn’t been there since 2004, it’s something to be relished but don’t just be happy to “go dancing”.
Make it a commitment to be there every year and go deep into the bracket.
Yes having your name called on “Selection Sunday” (which is next week), is to be treasured but make that a yearly tradition.
Celebrate it like it’s your birthday, it comes every year and you’ve been there before.
But I love Welsh-Ryan arena, it’s like an old school gym, the fans are close to the action, there’s a lot of history in that building and it’s where you should play basketball. Unlike some of the other basketball arenas the local teams play in.
Northwestern plays in the Big Ten conference, loaded with hoops heavyweights like Michigan State, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan & Wisconsin.
So they are always an underdog but they have proven themselves and built a quality football program, no excuse why they can’t do it on the hardwood.
I love the energy Coach Collins brings to the Wildcats, that he is building a tradition there much like Coach Fitzgerald does for football.
We so badly need a successful college basketball team in this state. Illinois State is having a great year down in Normal, U of I in Champaign has their moments (and still might make the NCAA tournament), and let’s not even mention my beloved DePaul Blue Demons.
But I’ve been there (in person), I watched my team beat their nemesis (then Cincinnati), and win a share of their conference title (then Conference USA), and go to the NCAA tournament.
I stood at my seats and watched kids run past to “storm the court” and felt the energy of a fan base hungry for success and eager to win and build a tradition.
That was 13 years ago.
Don’t lose sight of the big picture Northwestern, this is the first step of many, to make a name for yourself, not just a “one and done” but to etch your name in history as the first to make it to “the big dance” but remember to keep the music playing.
And be back to dance again next year and for years to come.

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