As Drew Crawford goes, so goes Northwestern

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Retaining Drew Crawford was priority number one for Chris Collins when he began his new regime at Northwestern. You may have been wondering why Northwestern forward Drew Crawford struggled so much during his senior season. His game was off because he wasn’t healthy. Drew Crawford underwent surgery on his right shoulder after being diagnosed with having a torn labrum. He was granted a medical hardship waiver.

And the presence of Drew Crawford has made a huge impact on the 2013-14 Northwestern basketball season. Last week he was named Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week by the United States Basketball Writers Association

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Northwestern upsets #12 Gophers, in front of very poor student showing

 

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Every year Northwestern Wildcats basketball beats a couple ranked teams during the Big Ten slate. So whenever they play someone good at home you want to be there so you can see a big event, right? Like when the fans stormed the court after taking down a top ten Michigan State team last year. Well the “Wildside” student section doesn’t seem to think so. They hardly showed up at all two home games ago when NU lost even uglier than it sounds, 70-51 to the Iowa Hawkeyes. And they didn’t come out last night either.

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BTN’s Tim Doyle: worst. sportscaster. EVER

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You listen to Tim McCarver, Skip Bayless, or even worse yet, Jemele Hill and it makes you wonder “how does this person have a job?” Not only they do have a broadcasting gig, but it’s one with a very large footprint. There is no justice in the world.

The Big Ten Network version of that is Tim Doyle. As a player at Northwestern, he seemed to always be around and accumulate stats despite possessing no discernible talent. He’s the exact same as an announcer. Doyle is like Dick Vitale, he RUINS every game he calls. He’s so bad that he makes CBS 2’s Ryan Baker look good by comparison. And that’s really hard to do because Baker pulls off the impossible combination of being both bland/boring and annoying/irritating at the same time.

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Top 13 point guard signing signals new era for Northwestern

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Give Bill Carmody credit.

Northwestern’s recent signing of Jaren Sina, the 75th-ranked player in the class of 2013, is not only impressive from a recruiting standpoint. It’s impressive from a public relations standpoint.

by Jonah Rosenblum (@jonahlrosenblum) Inside NU.com

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Louisville’s Jared Swopshire transfers to Northwestern

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Things are looking brighter for Bill Carmody in Evanston. Not only will he have one of his best recruiting classes ever coming in, with actual legitimate big men for the first time in a long time, but he also has immediate veteran help on the way to Northwestern.

That would be Louisville Cardinals forward Jared Swopshire, who was a contributor for the Big East power before getting injured and falling lower in Rick Pitino‘s rotation.

According to Scout.com (Purple Wildcats)

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Who might replace Bill Carmody at Northwestern?

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There are financial advantages to letting Bill Carmody finish out his contract at Northwestern, as there won’t be a buyout. NU needs to put more money into its next coach and the program as a whole when that coach takes over. Even if Carmody makes the Big Dance next season, the school has to help him out by upgrading facilities and re-examining admission standards.

Without a buyout to deal with, NU can put all its money into the program after next season, be it with Carmody or another coach.

If the Cats fall short of expectations again next season and Carmody isn’t resigned, NU will have had time to thoroughly evaluate coaching options and have a succession plan in place.

Guest post by Kevin Trahan of bigtenorbust.com, purplewildcats.com and the Daily Northwestern.

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Should Northwestern give Bill Carmody another year?

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Bill Carmody’s seat is warm. Warmer than he has ever felt it before and warmer than a seat typically gets for coaches at Northwestern. After yet another year in which his team failed to miss the NCAA Tournament, Carmody is taking heat.

And he certainly deserves it.

This year’s team underachieved. It failed in the clutch so many times throughout the season and couldn’t come up big in big moments and that’s a reflection of the coach. Carmody’s level-headed approach to his job is impressive, but there’s also something to be said for igniting a fire under your time to provide a spark.

However, this isn’t a call to fire Carmody. There is certainly validity to the argument for it — 12 seasons without an NCAA Tournament appearance would do it — but the timing isn’t right. A few years ago? Sure. But not now.

Guest post by Kevin Trahan of bigtenorbust.com, purplewildcats.com and the Daily Northwestern.

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Northwestern still needs three wins to make NCAA Tournament

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In our latest NCAA Tournament bracket projection, we have Northwestern as a #12 seed, one of the last four teams in. Of course, this isn’t a place you want to stay right now as Selection Sunday approaches.

Even though this is a supposedly “weak bubble,” bracket projections don’t and can’t factor in the “bid-stealing” that will occur next week when small conference favorites lose in their in their league tournaments. How many of these “one-bid league” upsets will we have? Who knows, but you need to get above that last #12 seed line to be safe, and the ‘Cats need to beat the Iowa Hawkeyes in Iowa City and then pick up two more wins in Indy.

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Northwestern damages NCAA Tournament chances in losing to Michigan

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When Northwestern beat Minnesota on Saturday, the Wildcats were able to pull out the win with strong three-point shooting and ball security, despite a bad rebounding ratio. Tuesday night against Michigan, the Cats rebounded well, but turned the ball over 17 times and shot just 18.8 percent from beyond the arc.

The end result, a 67-55 loss, was the opposite of the Minnesota game, as well.

“In the second half we seemed worn down,” coach Bill Carmody said. “We turned the ball over 14 times, not unlike the game in Ann Arbor when we turned it over the same amount. We only made three “threes” up there and we made the same amount tonight.”

Guest post by Kevin Trahan of bigtenorbust.com, purplewildcats.com and the Daily Northwestern.

For post-game audio, and more analysis go here

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Northwestern opponents should worry about getting back-doored

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Northwestern is playing some really good offense lately. During their current three-game winning streak, the Wildcats are averaging 80.3 points per game while shooting 53.7 percent from the field, including 46.1 percent from 3-point range. Four different NU players are averaging at least
15 points per game during the stretch: John Shurna (23.0), Dave Sobolewski (17.3), Reggie Hearn (15.0) and Drew Crawford (15.0).

The win streak has coincided with Northwestern going with a starting lineup of Sobolewski, Hearn, Crawford, Shurna and
Alex Marcotullio. This is the first time that NU has started the month of February with three consecutive wins since 1946. As they take on the Purdue Boilermakers this Sunday, they’re looking college basketball heavyweights North Carolina and Duke…on the offensive end. (The defensive end still has some issues). And the ‘Cats are getting it done with a very unique system, the Princeton offense, which we don’t see as much anymore. And of course the Princeton offense runs most smoothly when you get back door cuts.

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Battle of NUs: Northwestern outshoots Nebraska

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In what essentially turned into a three-point shooting contest, Northwestern was able to beat Nebraska in the battle from beyond the arc, taking down the Huskers 84-74.

The Wildcats shot 45.2 percent from three (14-31) and 12 of their first 13 shots came from beyond the arc. The Huskers relied on the three as well, hitting on 11 of 26 shots for 42.3 percent on the night.

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Northwestern’s Surprisingly Good RPI, Tournament Profile

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RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) is an algorithm based on opponents’ winning percentage, opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage, and opponents’ opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage. This is the truth, I’m not trying to sound like Dr. Seuss here. So RPI is like the BCS, a very controversial number that certains groups of people ascribe meaning to; other groups of people resent.

That fact is, RPI is taken very seriously by the NCAA Tournament selection committee, and from a numerical standpoint, it’s all about “who have you played?” Then there’s the eye-test with RPI, which asks “who have you beaten?”

And these numbers are what gives the Northwestern Wildcats a stronger than you think tourney profile. A 12-5, 2-3 in conference team with two 28+ point losses doesn’t seem like a good candidate to go dancing at first glance. But when you look at their #30 RPI and strength of schedule, the picture completely changes.

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