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Northwestern Wildcats Basketball Season Preview: What of Bill Carmody?

Is this the face of Northwestern basketball if hypotheticals to avoid a jinx turn out to be true?
Is this the face of Northwestern basketball if hypotheticals to avoid a jinx turn out to be true?

It's almost basketball season! (Never mind the fact that Northwestern has already played Texas-Pan American. I mean, you probably already weren't minding it, but whatever.) Sippin' on Purple attempts to figure out what will happen in a series of posts about NU's upcoming season.

Post one: How will NU replace Juice Thompson?

Post two: How much love will John Shurna get?

Post three: Big Ten basketball preview

Woah boy.

For the fourth straight year, Northwestern could conceivably make the NCAA Tournament this year. Some of us think NU will, some of us think NU won't. If we do, all the sins of the Bill Carmody era have been forgiven, and any Carmody detractors will have to kiss the ring, if you do get a ring for making the NCAA Tournament. After a decade of sub-mediocrity, Carmody has shown the ability to consistently recruit and coach passable Big Ten teams. At Northwestern, that's saying something. However, the question arises: after a lifetime of horrible, how long do we tolerate alright? What happens if year 12 of the Carmody dynasty ends the same way the first 11 have? This question is getting asked because it's not okay to assume NU will make the NCAA Tournament, because of JINX, but it is okay for us to assume otherwise.

The troll-baiting question eternal of what to do with Billy C. is after the jump. The SoP staff has their say, tell us what you think in the comments or the poll.


"Not making the tournament" isn't a firing offense at Northwestern. "Never having a chance" might be at this point. This team needs to look bubble-ish late in the year for Carmody to be comfortable.


Well, I like Carmody, so I'm torn. It wouldn't surprise me to see Phillips decide either way. Look, I know Carmody can't be forgiven for those craptastic seasons from 06-08, but the last three years have seen this program at its most competitive in what feels like forever. If NU is right on the bubble and is one of the last few teams out, then I could see keeping him on. If the team goes 6-12 in the Big Ten and is a middle seed in the NIT, then maybe it's time to go a new direction, though I'd personally be sad.


Depends on the circumstances. If they come close and make another run in the NIT I think it would be difficult to fire him unless there's a great young coaching prospect waiting in the wings. However if they take a step back and don't make the postseason it's probably time to blow it up and start over.


I genuinely enjoy having Bill Carmody as coach. He's insurmountably knowledgable about basketball, runs an offensive and defensive scheme kooky and effective enough to keep NU in games they shouldn't be, and with a talented staff of assistants who can actually bring in recruits, his previous sloppiness in that category doesn't harm the Cats. (He also makes a very good Halloween costume for a certain Keg-bound basketball player a few weeks back, but that's besides the point. It took me about eight seconds to figure out who he was when he came over to ask me, but then he pointed to his unnaturally swooped hair and I got it.) But what it comes down to is who will be the person most capable of guiding Northwestern to an NCAA Tournament, and whether eschewing Carmody would lead to somebody better. Most of me wants to say "no", but realistically, this is his last year with John Shurna and after that - no offense to Drew Crawford or any other non-senior - the pickings for a superstar capable of doing so are slimmer, and NU will have to start thinking about bringing a new one in. This is my long-winded way of saying that with another year on the brink, I'd be inclined to lean towards Carmody and feel really shameful for doing so, like how people in abusive relationships keep going back. Here's to not having to worry about that, and to you guys keeping it civil down there in the comments.