Jan 26, 2013; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Krzyzewski and associate head coach Chris Collins on the sidelines against the Maryland Terrapins during the first half at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern Basketball Providing Hope for Future

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Northwestern Wildcats are nowhere near an NCAA Tournament team. In fact, they’re not an NIT team or even a CBI team. Nobody expected them to make any major tournaments this season, and they have not done anything to change those opinions. But the team does have some wins over legitimate Big 10 competition this season, which provides hope for the future under first year Head Coach Chris Collins.

Saturday evening, the Wildcats defeated the Indiana Hoosiers at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., the second upset in three games for the team. The previous Sunday, the Wildcats hosted and defeated the then-ranked no. 23 Illinois Fighting Illini.

While neither of those wins are going to make a difference when they finish the season with a losing record, it shows that Collins is going to coach a Big 10 style team. Big 10 teams usually win games with defense and physicality. The Fighting Illini could only muster 43 points against the Wildcats while the Hoosiers only put up 47.

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Collins is a part of Mike Krzyzewski’s Coaching Tree. He has been coaching and recruiting at a high level since he joined Krzyzewski’s staff in 2000. Even though it’s not paying dividends right away, Collins could end up being the perfect coach for the Wildcats. Former coach Bill Carmody was a favorite amongst players, and did a good job with the team, but had never coached at a level equal to the Big 10, as his only previous Head Coaching experience came from Princeton University.

While we shouldn’t expect anything in the next few seasons, Collins is laying down a good foundation for a struggling team. If never making the NCAA Tournament counts as struggling, of course.

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Tags: Chris Collins Northwestern Wildcats

  • http://www.davidgainesmusic.com/ David Gaines

    I beg to differ re: postseason……Northwestern is absolutely playing like an NIT-level team at the moment (key phrase = “at the moment”), and I for one would have no objections at all to seeing them accept a CBI invite if they finish at .500. Why not? Keep playing into the postseason if someone who runs a tournament wants you to. A few weeks ago most people thought they had a lock on the Big 10 basement. No one’s laughing anymore. You can’t keep saying “oh, they just had a lousy night” when team after team gets their offense shut down by Northwestern. NU is now AHEAD of Ohio State in the Big 10 standings and was at #25 on KenPom in defensive efficiency the other day. If this keeps up, you should consider making travel plans to Madison Square Garden in March. ;-)

    • David Ridder

      I’m definitely for them making a tournament! I’m still a fan too haha. The only problem is that they’re 10-10, and still have plenty of tough games left. Iowa, Michigan St., Ohio St., and rematches with Illinois and Indiana. Plus, resume goes a long way even in NIT. Beating one ranked team (one who was no. 23 in one poll and unranked in the other major poll) doesn’t make up for losses to Depaul, Illinois St., and a 2-point win against IUPUI. Plus, history tells us that .500 won’t get you into the NIT period! Also CBI historically only invites one or two Major Conference teams to their tourney!