Northwestern Basketball Can’t Close, Rebuild Further Prolonged


As you know from Glengary Glen Ross, “coffee is for closers” and that means Northwestern basketball will need to get their caffeine elsewhere. Tonight against Purdue, just like versus Maryland, or at DePaul or at Indiana, the win was there for the taking, but Chris Collins’ youthful squad just couldn’t rise up and take it.

Yes, we knew this season was going to be a character builder coming in. They finished in the basement last year, and then lost most of their experience and statistical production from that team. Then you have all the guys who transferred away in the past couple years, and the end result is a very young and inexperienced squad that will need a lot of time to develop. However, things are not getting better as the season progresses.

You see the stats above and the dominant Northwestern basketball storyline of this season is now failing to close the deal. It replaces the previous prevailing storyline- shock losses to low-majors. (I guess that’s progress? Maybe)

And while we all knew this season would be rough, no one anticipated that it would be this rough. Northwestern basketball is now 6-15, 1-10 in the league. And according to an article in the school paper this week, home game attendance has now reached its lowest point of the Chris Collins era.

“We have to keep putting ourselves in that position. It reminds me so much of my second year, where we [started] 1-10, I think, as well.”

That team did go on to win five of their next seven, but who among you envisions this team accomplishing that? Stop it- no you do not.


Tonight saw Northwestern playing not to lose instead of playing to win, and all those wasted possessions where they killed clock are the reason that the Wildcats saw an 8 point advantage result in a 3 point loss in just 4:38.

“We had three freshmen and a sophomore on the floor to close the game,” Collins said tonight.

It’s a familiar refrain, and it does partially explain the struggles, but it doesn’t account for all of the issues. The stats above, regarding the failure to keep leads and kill off games is definitely something where the buck stops with the guy in charge. He’s only had one season out of seven with a winning record in league play. The Cats are now 2-22 in their least 24 league games.

chris collins

Last night, his conference record fell to 41-80 and 107-111 overall. This season is looking like his ebb point in Evanston, and quite possibly the worst season Northwestern basketball has seen since 2007-08 when Bill Carmody led the program to a 1-17 finish in conference play.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC and Chicago on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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