Northwestern basketball has a bright future. That is something we have never been able to say. For years, the ‘Cats have been stuck in the bottom of the Big 10 standings, and there has seemed to be no signs of change or progress. Enter Chris Collins.
Collins, the former Duke standout and longtime assistant to Mike Krzyzewski, appears poised to take this program where it has never been before, the NCAA Tournament. Now, that almost certainly won’t happen this season, but that’s okay. There are so many things to be encouraged about in the early stages of the Collins Era in Evanston.
The team currently stands at 10-10 overall and 3-4 in the Big 10, which in itself is already a great surprise. Many expected the Wildcats to again finish last in the conference and struggled to find games where this team could win in the nation’s toughest league. But with rock solid defense of late and timely shooting from senior Drew Crawford and emerging sophomore Tre Demps, the ‘Cats have the look of a hungry, improving team that is starting to hit their stride.
Who had Northwestern traveling to Assembly Hall in Bloomington and coming out with a victory in one of the toughest college basketball venues in the country last weekend? Nobody.
It’s often said that a first year coach of a struggling program needs a “statement” win. This was it for Collins.
To add on to all of the early success, Collins is making great strides in recruiting as well. He’s assembled the best class in Northwestern history for 2014, led by consensus top 100 recruit Victor Law.
What happens the rest of the season with this team remains to be seen, but one thing is clear — under the tutelage of Collins, this program is only going to get better.
Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. You can follow him on twitter @OfficialSturg27