To say that the Northwestern Wildcats have very little tradition in men’s basketball would be an understatement. Frankly, for the majority of the time that Northwestern has played, they have been bad at basketball.
So when news came on Tuesday that Northwestern had extended the contract of its current head basketball coach, Chris Collins, there were two immediate reactions. The first was surprise, due to the fact that Collins is 29-36 in two seasons in Evanston and there aren’t many places where a record like Collins’ would get a coach an extension.
But it’s the second reaction that may make people take a step back. Does Northwestern think it has finally found a coach who can take them to new heights? Is that why they are signing him to a long-term deal now?
Northwestern has never been to the NCAA Tournament. In fact, Northwestern has only been to the NIT seven times. The Wildcats have never won a Big Ten title. In fact, they have only finished second in the league once, and that was in 1959.
All of that makes people think that Collins may have his program headed in the right direction. Northwestern should be pretty good, especially by Northwestern’s standards, in 2016. With Tre Demps, Vic Law, Bryant McIntosh and Alex Olah all returning, the Wildcats should find themselves in contention for an NCAA Tournament bid.
And if Collins got an extension after going 15-17 last season, imagine what the school might do for him if he took them to the unknown territory of the Big Dance.