No one is surprised by what the the Northwestern Wildcats did to Texas Southern Tuesday night in their season opener.
The Wildcats drilled the Tigers 79-49 at Welsh-Ryan Arena, which is what they were supposed to do against an opponent that doesn’t have the talent to keep up with a team from the Big Ten.
What stood about the win was the play of Drew Crawford, who got on a roll early and didn’t slow down until halftime.
Crawford nailed his first eight shots from the floor and scored all 20 of his points by halftime, staking the Wildcats to a 43-14 lead at the break.
Without a doubt, Crawford is going to need to play at a high level if Northwestern is going to be one of the better teams in the Big Ten and have an opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history.
My guess is Crawford will be ready to handle the role, especially if his performance against Texas Southern is a sign of things to come.
The other thing worth noting about the win for Northwestern was the way it got after the Tigers defensively. Northwestern held Texas Southern to 29.3 percent shooting and the effort the Wildcats gave on defense impressed head coach Bill Carmody.
“I liked our defense out there tonight, I thought we played pretty nicely,” Carmody said in a post-game press conference on the school web site. “We kept our bodies in front of our men pretty well. I thought the team defense was pretty good. Also, Drew got hot in the first half, which pushed the game open.”
Sounds like Northwestern has the recipe for success, and as long as Crawford keeps scoring and the Wildcats keep playing hard on defense, the Wildcats will have an opportunity to be a very good team this season.
Brian Lester is a featured Big Ten columnist and college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993 or send him an email at email@example.com.