Northwestern basketball needs more from JerShon Cobb


In order for Northwestern basketball to reach the NIT, they’ll need more from JerShon Cobb. The second option behind Drew Crawford, Cobb is second on the team in scoring, and they’re the only two that average double figures for the Wildcats. NU Coach Chris Collins has said on a few occasions that his team does not have the depth of other Big Ten schools, therefore his margin of error is smaller.

JerShon Cobb needs to be on it as much as possible.

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Northwestern Wildcats Moving on to Play #1 Ohio State

Michael juice Thompson

As he has so many times this season, Northwestern Wildcats senior point guard Michael “Juice” Thompson carried his team on his back, leading his team to a victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers in a Big Ten Tournament game they absolutely had to have in order to preserve any chance of a NCAA Tournament berth; and probably really needed to salvage a NIT berth.

Thompson led the way with 35 points, a new career high and a single game Big Ten Tournament record.

By Paul M. Banks

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Northwestern 68, Minnesota 57: Rapid Reaction


The at-large bid chances are long gone for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. And it took another hit tonight. They were on the bubble until they hit a three games losing streak, all against Big Ten bubble teams (Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Penn State Nittany Lions).

Now their path to a NCAA bid is the exact same as the Northwestern Wildcats- run the conference tournament table or else. Wednesday night provided a chance to see who, if either of the two teams, could be more likely to make that miracle run.

And if league standings hold, they’ll get the chance to eliminate one another on the very first day of the tournament, as they’re slotted for the Thursday #8 vs.#9 game.

By Paul M. Banks

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Northwestern Utterly Destroys SIU-Edwardsville

Michael juice Thompson

Like I said on Monday, for Northwestern wins over Michigan and SIU-Edwardsville should be a given this week; but neither helps their RPI and Strength Of Schedule. They need to win those two and then sweep the next two- Wisconsin and at Minnesota or the tournament bubble will officially burst before February even gets here.

They took care of step one on Monday, and step two Thursday night, crushing a 5-15 team in SIU-E 98-55 who is still transitioning from playing in division II, to next year when they’ll reside in the Ohio Valley Conference.

It was comforting that Northwestern crushed this team so thoroughly, especially so when considering they were without their MVP John Shurna, who sat this one out.

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John and Juice Leading 9-1 Northwestern into Big 10 Play

Michael juice  Thompson

Northwestern hoops has been “sipping on John and Juice” this season. (At least I didn’t make the “purple drank” joke which seemed obvious given the team’s colors). This college basketball season in Evanston, the Wildcats have been led by junior forward John Shurna, the Big Ten’s leading scorer and one of the most underrated players in the country. And senior point guard Michael “Juice” Thompson.

Both are local products; Thompson, the team’s second leading scorer and leading assist man hails from Chicago and played prep ball at Lincoln Park high school. His fellow member of the 1,000 point club, Shurna, is from suburban Glen Ellyn.

By Paul M. Banks

(note: the phrase “john and juice” in the title must be credited to the Big Ten Network’s Tim Doyle)

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Northwestern B-ball names Captains, Departs for Italian Adventure

bill carmody northwestern

Northwestern head men’s basketball coach Bill Carmody announced seniors Jeff Ryan (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) and Michael Thompson (Chicago, Ill./Lincoln Park) have been selected team captains for the upcoming season.

“Jeff and Michael have proven to be tremendous leaders throughout their careers and have set a great example to their teammates through their dedication and commitment to the program,” Carmody said. “They have earned the respect of their teammates as well as the staff.”

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Juice (Thompson) is Loose as Northwestern takes Chicago Invitational Title


By Paul M. Banks

NU beats Iowa State 67-65 to take Chicago Invitational Championship. Forward John Shurna named MVP, Guards Jeremy Nash and Michael “Juice” Thompson named to all-tournament team.

When Northwestern’s star forward Kevin Coble went down for the season with a foot injury, someone needed to step up. That someone is turning out to be two people: Juice Thompson and John Shurna. With Juice running the point, and Shurna scoring both inside and outside at will, this team certainly has “juice” (slang for power, respect, notoriety) now.

They’re 5-1 with some quality wins on their resume. Rick Majerus told me yesterday he thinks ISU could compete with Kansas for the Big 12 title. And Northwestern beat them. Iowa State’s Craig Brackins, a potential NBA lottery pick, played with Shurna for Team USA last summer. Yesterday Shurna was telling me how much he was impressed by Brackins, today Brackins returned the favor. “We scrimmaged the Under-19 team there, so I knew how good he was, and what a great a shooter he was,” Brackins said.


NU Head Coach Bill Carmody extolled the virtues of Shurna’s development in the post-game presser. And when a reporter asked if Shurna might start to develop a big head after scoring 23 and 25 points on back-to-back nights against top notch competition, Coach had a candid and unique reply. “No, he’s such a humble kid. It’s hard to get that kid to be confident. You know that guy, he looks like he’s 14 years old. He’s a little goofy, God bless him.”

And while Shurna was the best player on the floor this Thanksgiving weekend. The most valuable player was probably Thompson. Some people call him Juice, some people call him Michael. The junior point guard entered this game as the Cats leading scorer and floor general.

“To my peers and my teammates, it’s Juice, but Coach Carmody doesn’t call me that unless I make a mistake, other than that he calls me Mike or Thompson.

Juice said he learned a lot from Craig Moore, last year’s starting two guard, who broke pretty much every school three point record imaginable, and was the the unquestioned leader of the team.

“Craig was a feisty guy, he was always on top of guys, and some guys you can get through to them that way. So being a leader I’m just trying to figure out who I can get through to in that way, and who I need to talk to in just a calm manner and try to get them to work harder,” Thompson replied. Thompson also told me about his “Juice” tattoo on his right shoulder. “This is my trademark there, I got to get that copyrighted.”

Northwestern Preview Basketball

Juice has evolved into this team’s floor general and I asked him what that term means to him “A coach on the court someone who knows the offense inside and out, and knows what everyone needs to do, and every thing that the coach wants him to do. I have a feel for what Coach Carmody wants me to run at certain times. He pretty much wants me to call plays on my own,” Juice replied.

Thompson sure sounded like a Coach when I asked him how they upset Notre Dame and stopped the most highly heralded player in the nation last night. “We watched a lot of film, we pretty much knew what we had to do, our coaches wanted us to focus on Harangody, and close out on the shooters with our 1-3-1. With Harangody we were trying to double him as much as we could. But with our 1-3-1 he wasn’t under the basket as much as he can be, and that’s where he’s most effective. With Hansbrough we tried to close out on him and be there right on the catch and I think we did a great job of that.”