It is a lot easier to pick on the Northwestern Wildcats for their inability to have a strong basketball program over the years than it would be to entertain the idea that their new coach, Chris Collins, will be able to do what Bill Carmody — or any Northwestern coach — couldn’t: take the team dancing in March.
Collins is going to have the same shot Carmody did to achieve the goal of making the tournament. In fact, it is the luxuries which Carmody had, but was unable to take advantage of, that might help Collins the most in his process to make the Wildcats a respectable basketball program.
Time. Simple, old, boring time. Despite Carmody’s failures as the main man in charge of Northwestern hoops, the athletic department gave him 13 seasons to try to prove why he was the right man to be in charge. Sure, maybe the Wildcats should have pulled the plug sooner, but maybe they just really “get it”. They are not going to be a hoops superpower … ever.
That is not saying they cannot reach that level of success at some point or they don’t want to, but chasing coaches for the sake of chasing them has failed as often as it has been tried.
With Collins knowing that he will have more than ample time to build the program he wants, he can do it how he wants — which will likely take a substantial amount of time. There is a reason why academic-heavy institutions have a harder time hanging with the big boys. Still, as other programs have proved, it is not impossible.
We may not know if Collins was the right man for the job for some time, although time is something Northwestern does not mind waiting on.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone