Big Ten Mid-Season Report: Northwestern Wildcats
It is not midway through the season yet, but it is almost conference play time for the Big Ten. The college basketball regular season is really split in to three parts; non-conference schedule and conference play. With one part almost done, I am going to take a look back at what has happened for each team and what will happen in the next half. Let’s look at Northwestern.
The Wildcats have had a tough start to their season. After starting 6-0, Northwestern has dropped four of its last six games. Northwestern lost to all of their games at home, an alarming fact. Their lone impressive win came against Baylor, while the other five have been over cupcakes.
Compounding the lackluster start has been the loss of their best player, Drew Crawford. Crawford had season ending surgery on his right shoulder, after feeling discomfort for much of the season. This was a huge loss, as Crawford was averaging 14 ppg this year after scoring 16 ppg last season.
Other players, like Reggie Hearn and Dave Sobolewski, will have to step up in conference play to keep things from getting really bad. This was an average Northwestern team with Crawford. Without him they will have a lot of trouble competing against the top half of the Big Ten.
This could be coach Bill Carmody’s toughest test yet, as the hot seat will surely heat up even more after another season without reaching the NCAA Tournament. Whatever chance they had of fighting their way in to the bubble conversation in March died when Crawford went down. Now, Northwestern must pick up the pieces and avoid going in to a free fall. They play Brown today at home, before hosting the no. 2 team in the country, Michigan, in the new year.