Northwestern Basketball: Stronger Pre-Conference Slate Builds Resume

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chris collins northwestern

Quite often, November and December college basketball is exactly like what M told James Bond near the beginning of Casino Royale: “All that energy for what? So that you could kill a nobody?”

Last year, Northwestern basketball went 12-1 in the pre-conference, getting off to a lightning fast 12-1 start. It eventually caught up to them as they finished the year 20-12. This season, it’s a very different story as Northwestern Basketball has played a much tougher schedule, and the results have been much more impressive.

Northwestern basketball Coach Chris Collins has led his team through a formidable stretch, and the end result was impressive.

“It’s our seventh game in 14 days, I don’t think anyone has played the level of competition that we have in the country,” Collins said after NU gutted out a 65-58 win over Wake Forest in the B1G/ACC Challenge.

jay-blias-villanova-basketball

It was the first ever meeting between Wake and NU, and that’s a shame because in many ways these two elite, private institutions are somewhat meant for each other. The Wake Forest and Northwestern student bodies are actually quite similar in demographics, and both schools have

a.) obvious Duke connections and

b.) walk-ons on the roster who are offspring of celebrities. However, we never did see the Anthony Bilas vs. Charlie Hall match-up.

Maybe these two natural rivals in the making will be paired up again in future challenges? Monday night’s result yielded Northwestern basketball a decent victory for the old resume as Wake Forest are #57 in RPI and #63 in Ken Pomery. If it seems too early to be talking these sort of metrics, may I remind you that all games count the same.

It’s who played and who did you beat, and it doesn’t matter when you played them. At the end of the year, your body of work is helped by going hard in the pre-conference.

The big win over the Deamon Deacons led to a postgame water fight celebration in the Northwestern basketball locker room. Collins showed up to his postgame press conference in casual workout attire, instead of his usual formal attire.

“The guys think its funny to mess up my suits,” Collins said.

“I learned to take off my coat and tie and let the shirt take the brunt. Those are fun locker rooms, when you’re in games like that and everyone knows you’ve been in a fight, I love being in the locker room after games like that.”

chris collins northwestern basketball

Collins also jokingly added that he’s been in the gym lately, so we’ll get to see how “this 42-year-old guy still has some guns.”

Indeed postgame pressers are so much more fun after a big win. Northwestern routed Shaka Smart and then #22 Texas by a very wide margin during Thanksgiving week, in what seemed like a statement win at the time. However, the Longhorns got completely pantsed by UT-Arlington last night.

Still, the Wildcats did exactly what they needed to in that match-up and their 5-2 record is more impressive than it sounds when you look at the quality of their losses. Hinkle Fieldhouse is always a tough place to play, and the Cats took Butler (#9 in RPI, #13 in KenPom) down to the final seconds. They also took Notre Dame (#44 RPI, #29 in KenPom) down to the wire too.

hinkle fieldhouse-hoosiers

All in all, Collins is proud of what Northwestern basketball has done as the calendar now flips to December.

“I really like how my team is playing, I love coaching these guys. We’ve been making a lot of headway, it’s been fun coaching these guys,” he said after the Wake game.

The next chance for a resume builder win? December 17th versus Dayton at the United Center. The Flyers are currently top 40 in KenPom and top 20 in RPI.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network. and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, currently contributes regularly to the Chicago Tribune’s RedEye publication and Bold Global.

He also consistently appears on numerous radio and television talk shows all across the country. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and Sound Cloud.

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