NU Wildcats?

5/15/2012 1:29:45 PM

As the only BCS conference member still waiting to dance, Northwestern University's Wildcats (NU) may look like a cupcake B10 matchup come November. But with 4 straight NIT appearances maaaybe they're worth a second look.

Coach Bill Carmody, former Princeton coach, has 13 seasons under his belt with mostly forgettable results(until recently). NU has won 20 games the last 3 years (includes NIT)and last season beat MSU, lost twice to Mich in OT, by 2 to OSU and Purdue, and by 1 to Illinois. They could've popped the Tourney bubble except for an opening round B10 Tourney stumble against Minnesota.

Okay, MD should beat these guys by a good 10 points... IF certain things do/don't happen.

The game is at NU. NU has experience with 4 of 5 leading scorers back, and a sound 6'5 wing in Drew Crawford (new go-to-guy). Guard play is decent - and spearheads last year's CBB ranking of 25th in 3pt %.

Carmody runs a 1-3-1 zone and a Princeton-like offense, they look for back doors and 3 pt shots.

NU will miss John Shurna, Mr.Everything (All American, 20 ppg). No inside game to speak of,although they have 6'9 TCU transfer Nikola Cerina and 6'11 frosh Alex Olah. They also lack the athleticism to stay with the Terps, but the Princeton offense can negate the latter two issues to a certain degree.

I'm not sweating bullets over NU, but this game is certainly not a lock. If Faust/Layman frustrate Crawford, if MD PGs can get the running game going, and ifLen/Cleare/Padgett/Pankey/Mitchell can take care of post play, NU maybe in for a long night. However, if MD clanks over the NU zone,allows NU to get hot from the outside, and/or goes to sleep on the Princeton O... NU could win their fifth straight B10/ACC matchup.

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