LGWS #9 Podcast: 1994-95 Northwestern Basketball Point Shaving Scandal

The 1994-95 Northwestern basketball team went 5-22, and yes, they were just as bad as their record indicates. That’s not why we’re talking about them today though, a quarter-century later. Two of their players ended up doing prison time for fraud after their point shaving activities were uncovered.

Yes, two members of that Northwestern Wildcats team were purposefully trying to lose by even more, in an effort to make money by helping NU lose by more points than the gambling spread in three Big Ten games that season. Let’s Get Weird, Sports episode 9 is a short podcast, we filled it out with an extra Northwestern story towards the end that you’ll want to hear.

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Northwestern Currently in Last Place; Chris Collins Having His Worst Season Ever

chris collins

Chris Collins is now into the final stretch of what has truly become his worst season ever in charge at Northwestern. His Wildcats, currently 14th out of 14 in the Big Ten conference, face a very real danger of finishing dead last in the league.

At this point, somehow finding a way to get up to 10th place, and thus being able to avoid having to play on the first night of the Big Ten Tournament, would be considered a major victory. Collins has won at least six games and finished 10th or higher in league play in all five of his previous seasons on the job. Northwestern, currently on an eight game losing streak will need to win three of their last four in order to reach six league wins this season.

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Despite Awful Season and Recruiting Misses, Chris Collins Seat at Northwestern Very Cool

chris collins

The “program momentum,” if you believe such things actually exist in college basketball, is long gone now at Northwestern. Yes, they made their first ever NCAA Tournament two years ago, and achieved the school’s first ever tournament win to boot, but that might as well be ancient history today. 

Today’s mood is the polar opposite of 2017 March Madness as Chris Collins now faces a very real danger of finishing dead last in the Big Ten for the first time in his career. Barring a miracle turnaround down the stretch, NU will be forced to play on the first night of the Big Ten tournament and an under. 500 overall record for fourth time in Collins’ six seasons seems very likely. In three of his five seasons at the helm, the Cats have finished 10th in the league.

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Northwestern Wildcats Basketball Season Resume/Postseason Profile

northwestern basketball

While there are still 14 games left in the season, the clock is very much ticking loudly for the Northwestern Wildcats. Right now, they’re projected to be in the dreaded Wednesday slate/opening day of the Big Ten Tournament and you know what that means- you have to win the whole conference tourney in order to get into The Big Dance.

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2019 Northwestern Football Very Early Season Preview

2018 was a banner, yet still very strange season for Northwestern football. It saw the first winless non-conference regular season since 1992, Gary Barnett’s very first season in Evanston. However, it also included a very nice bowl win over the Pac 12 runner-up/winner of the league’s south division.

It was an autumn that brought Pat Fitzgerald’s worst loss (Akron) since his very first home game in charge (New Hampshire, 2006) and his first Big Ten Coach of the Year award, on strength of a 8-1 league record. At various points during the season, Fitzgerald brought attention to his non-believers and detractors. At times, he mentioned the odds-makers, bloggers, Clayton Thorson critics and media who he felt didn’t give the offensive line as much positive publicity as he felt they deserved.

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Pat Fitzgerald Emphatically Shoots Down Green Bay Packers Rumors

pat fitzgerald

So much for the Pat Fitzgerald to the Green Bay Packers rumors. In celebrating a record setting come-from-behind Holiday Bowl victory over the #17 Utah Utes, the Northwestern head coach made an emphatic statement.

It was reported by multiple outlets on Sunday that Packers CEO Mark Murphy, who elevated Fitzgerald to head coach in 2006 when he was NU athletic director, was interested in interviewing Fitzgerald for the open Packers head coaching position.

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Green Bay Packers Want to Interview Pat Fitzgerald for Open Coaching Position

pat fitzgerald

According to multiple reports, Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald is on the list of candidates to potentially fill the Green Bay Packers head coaching vacancy. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the ball is in Fitzgerald’s court right now too. The Packers have contacted Fitz about scheduling an interview, but the NU mentor is currently focused on preparing his team to take on #17 Utah in the Holiday Bowl tomorrow (full game preview and prediction at this link).

We won’t know until after the bowl game whether or not Fitz will hear their Packers out on their offer, but he “has shut down countless interview requests from the NFL in the past,” according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

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Holiday Bowl Preview, Prediction: #22 Northwestern Wildcats vs #17 Utah Utes

Since 2014, the Holiday Bowl has featured a matchup of Pac-12 and Big Ten teams, making it a sort of junior varsity version of the Rose Bowl. It’s kind of like how San Diego is the j.v. version of Los Angeles in some ways. That’s not meant to be a slam, San Diego is an awesome city.

The 2018 edition of the Holiday Bowl features a match-up of the teams that lost the Big 10 (#22 Northwestern Wildcats) and Pac 12 (#17 Utah Utes) championship games. The winners of those two conference title games, Ohio State and Washington, will meet in the Rose Bowl the next day. So really, this year more than ever, the Holiday Bowl is a quasi-opening act for the Granddaddy of them all.

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Oklahoma Sooners Provide Most Compelling Northwestern Non-Conf Home Game in Quite Some Time

lon kruger oklahoma

Aside from the very narrow loss to #4 Michigan, the new Welsh-Ryan Arena hasn’t really yet experienced a true rocking atmosphere. While it was indeed electric inside the new barn that evening, the crowd was half (or more) Michigan Wolverines supporters. Friday night brings the Oklahoma Sooners, the first team out of the AP poll and the second out of the coaches polls this week to Evanston.

The back half of a home and home series with OU, this is pretty much the most exciting non-conference home game that Northwestern has seen since…since…well, quite a long time. It can be tough to get a good quality pre-conference opponent to come to your gym, because no one really wants to do home and homes.

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Michigan, Michigan State at Top of Early Big Ten Hoops Power Rankings

michigan wolverines

Early December polls and rankings are to be taken with a grain of salt, but we do know this about the Big Ten- “the Michigans” currently rule the roost. College hoops is a sport as synonymous with gambling as any you will find anywhere in the entire world. Wagering on college basketball at this time of year can be like real money online pokies, there is a ton of luck and chance involved. However, if you want a blue chip then #GoBlue, as the Michigan Wolverines have consistently shown a capability to beat the spread by by a comfortable margin.

They are the clear number one in the Big Ten with arch-rival Michigan State a solid #2 in the league. Next to each team name below you’ll find the following numerical values: overall record, conference record, AP ranking (when applicable) Sagarin rating and kenpom rating.

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#5 Michigan Basketball, Big Ten Bellwether, Provide Good Early Test for Northwestern Wildcats


University of Michigan- basketball school? Well, it certainly feels like it right now as the Wolverines moved up to #5 in the latest AP poll, and hold the highest current position of any Big Ten team. John Beilein has guided Michigan basketball to two national title game appearances, three elite eights and four sweet sixteens in the past five seasons.

Meanwhile Jim Harbaugh, who is paid more than three times as much as Beilein, has yet to accomplish any of the three things he was hired to do in 2015 (beat Ohio State, win Big Ten titles, compete for national titles).

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Northwestern Football Hopes to Make B1G Title Games the New Normal

For Northwestern football, the goal is to have it so Big Ten title game appearances are no longer novel or new, but instead routine. The Big Ten has gotten so used to seeing Wisconsin and Ohio State (sometimes both at the same time) in the league title game that when we do see another program earn a place in Indianapolis, it’s a bold change of pace.

#20 Northwestern lost 45-24 to #6 Ohio State tonight in a game that saw the Wildcats claw back into it during the third quarter, but fade away early in the fourth. After the game, Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald expressed his ambitions of making this game essentially part of the annual schedule.

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