Blog Entry

Northwestern with monumental game on Tuesday

Posted on: February 20, 2012 11:07 am
Edited on: February 20, 2012 11:10 am

By Jeff Goodman

Bill Carmody scoffed at the notion. 

"Please. C'mon," Northwestern's head coach said on Monday's Big Ten conference call when posed the question whether Tuesday's home contest against Michigan is the most important game in the program's history. 

But it would wind up being just that if the Wildcats are to pull off the victory and use the win to catapult the team into the NCAA tournament for the first time. 


A win would put the Wildcats at 17-10 overall and 7-8 in Big Ten play with three games remaining. 

"It's an important game," Carmody admitted. "You have four left and if you win a few, you're in the discussion. But if we lose this one, you're not out of it." 

Maybe not, but it would be difficult at three games under the .500 mark in league play. Two winnable road contests remain -- at Penn State this weekend and then on March 3 at Iowa. A home date against Ohio State is sandwiched in-between. 

You'd likely be looking at running the table in those three -- which just isn't all that realistic. 

Let's face it: This may be Carmody's last shot at getting to the Big Dance since the school's all-time leading scorer, John Shurna, will graduate after this season. Carmody has gotten this program close each of the last three seasons, but the Wildcats have been forced to settle for an NIT berth each year. 

The bubble if dreadful this season -- and a .500 mark in the Big Ten, along with wins against Michigan State and tomorrow night against Michigan, could be enough. 


Since: Nov 25, 2006
Posted on: February 21, 2012 11:50 am

Northwestern with monumental game on Tuesday

Northwestern doesn't consider Michigan a rivalry game - just another Big Ten game it needs to win on the road to the tourney.  It's just that combination of arrogance and whining that so endears Michigan fans to the rest of the conference.  Look. there is no doubt that a NU (Note well, the abbreviation is NU NOT NW) could be the biggest game in NU hoops history, especially if the Cats win, as I fully expcet.  The combination of a full and wild Welsh-Ryan, an amped Wildcat team coming off a big win against Minny and a Michigan team possibly suffering a let down after an admittedly big win against its legitimate rival Ohio State all shape up to point to a Cat win and a huge step towards its first dance invitation.

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: February 20, 2012 7:15 pm

I call bull spit...

C'mon, Jeff.  Please don't give NW even more motivation to play tough against Michigan.  NW is another of "those" schools who sees Michigan as their "rivalry game."  Currently, Michigan has about seven of them.  The pattern is the same; no matter where they are in the standings, they always play their best game against Michigan.  

A lot of teams like NW or Illinois see their entire season as a success if they beat Michigan.  They always think playing Michigan is a monumental game.  But it doesn't mean bleep on a national scale.  And they won't make it to the tournament without "working the committee" with a lot of politics.  

Since: Jan 25, 2010
Posted on: February 20, 2012 6:00 pm

Northwestern with monumental game on Tuesday

I'm a Gophers fan.  If we run the table in the regular season, it won't matter what we do in the B1G Tournament.  Getting to 9-9 in League play would be enough, especially with wins over Michigan State, Wisconsin, sweeping IU and beating NW.  That right there would put us at 21-10, 9-9 entering the B1G Tournament.  We could lose to PSU in the 1st round and get in.  With that said, we probably go 1-3 down the stretch and get a road game in the 1st round of the NIT. 

Since: Feb 20, 2012
Posted on: February 20, 2012 5:37 pm

Northwestern with monumental game on Tuesday

Minnesota? Are you kidding me?? Have you watched this team lately?

Tubby Smith is as overrated a coach as you can find anywhere. This team has no consistent offense of any kind.

How could they possibly run the table...? They will be a double digit underdog vs Mich State, and a double digit underdog at Wis.

Most likely scenario....MN goes 1-3, with only a win at home vs lowly Nebraska.

BTW....I'm from Minnesota.

Since: Sep 17, 2006
Posted on: February 20, 2012 3:23 pm

Northwestern with monumental game on Tuesday

I think there will be eight teams from that conference to make the tournament: 
Ohio State (28-6) 
Michigan State (25-8) 
Michigan (23-9) 
Indiana (26-9) 
Wisconsin (22-10) 
Purdue (20-13) 
Northwestern (20-12) 
Minnesota (22-11)


Purdue beats Nebraska and Penn State at home, loses to Michigan and Indiana on the road, gets the 6 seed in the tournament. Beats Nebraska again in round one before losing to the 3 seed. Finishes 20-13. 
Northwestern beats Michigan at home, loses at Ohio State, and beats both Iowa and Penn State on the road. Gets the 8 seed, beats Iowa in round one of the conference tournament before losing to the 1 seed. They finish 20-12. 


With Minnesota, I'm picking a bit of an upset here, but I think (with their backs against the wall), they come up with a huge win at home vs. Michigan State. That starts them on a roll that sees them beat Indiana at home, Wisconsin (already four home losses in conference) on the road, and Nebraska at home. In this scenario, they get the 7 seed and beats Illinois in round one of the tournament, upsets Michigan in round two, loses to Ohio State in the semis. They finish 22-11. Even if they lose to the Wolverines in round two, they would still be 21-11 and I don't think the committee denies a 20+ win team from the number one conference. 
The first two scenarios (Purdue and Northwestern) are likely to happen. The last one is, in large part, dependent on how Minnesota reacts at home against the Spartans.  
Seven minimum make the NCAA tournament. I see eight if the pieces fall into place.

How do you see the  playing out?

How I see the tournament going down: 



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