Did Losing To Minnesota Burst Northwestern’s Bubble?

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Heading into the Big Ten Tournament, there was probably no more compelling storyline than the Northwestern Wildcats trying to get their first NCAA bid in their school’s history. Having finished seventh in the Big Ten, and just one win against the RPI top 50, the Wildcats were thoroughly on the bubble, and the consensus was that they had work to do in the conference tournament to be assured a ticket to the Dance.

The Wildcats have come close but short lots of times before, but this year looked like the best chance for Bill Carmody and company to sneak into the field, the bubble was soft, the Big Ten would offer plenty of chances to build their resume, and most of all, John Shurna, who will likely go down as the greatest Wildcat ever, was entering his senior year.

You have to wonder though, if all of that pressure was weighing too much on the team, especially with so many opportunities to lock a bid came up short.

Carmody seemed to sense that pressure too, telling his players before the game “”if you win tonight, it doesn’t mean you’re in, if you lose it doesn’t mean you’re out”

When asked if having every game be “the most important game ever” for the Wildcats, Shurna responded “it’s been that way since January”

John Shurna, who this year became the all time leading scorer in NU history, carried this team for the whole year, and that pressure has to get to even the most stubborn of athletes eventually.

The Wildcats are now put in the uncomfortable situation of not controlling their own destiny, and watching the conference tournaments of mid-majors to see if their tournament bid will be snatched away. As for Carmody, he will try and keep things business as usual for a team that has just suffered a devastating loss.

Doesn’t mean anything either way. We’ll put our resume out there and see how it goes…well, we will practice on Sunday, that I know.”

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