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2011 NIT Tournament: Northwestern vs. Boston College Preview

Northwestern takes on Boston College in Beantown tomorrow - well, technically, Chestnut Hill - and to be honest, readers, I'm not qualified to write about it.

You see, I've seen a lot of things in my life. I've seen things no man should ever see, like Northwestern vs. Central Arkansas.

But one of the things I've never seen in all my years - a second-round NIT game. Northwestern's never been, and there's no way in hell I'd ever watch it if they weren't, because of the whole "that other tournamnet" thing.

I'm unworthy. Accept this apology in advance.


Are they good? They've certainly got their fair share of quality wins - five against the Kenpom top 50, including four from season sweeps of Virginia and Maryland. (Maybe they just have a thing against those teams?) That said, they have zero - 0 - wins against tourney teams (NU, of course, has one against Long Island) (Uhh, I forgot about Texas A&M. Go Aggies.) and three yikes losses to Harvard (understandable) Rhode Island (yeah we did it last year but trust me they were better) and Yale (CHRIS DUDLEY IS NOT WALKING THROUGH THAT DOOR) that make you wonder. Yeah, it's coming up, but you shouldn't lose to a quarter of the Ivy League.

Who they got?: Point guard Reggie "Mr. March" Jackson is the team's leader, dropping 18.5 per game and dishing out 4.5 assists while shooting 42.8 percent from downtown. Beside him start four seniors, Joe Trapani, Corey Raji, Biko Paris, and Josh Southern - this group has experience and Jackson as the team's go-to guy.

What are they good at?: Gunning. The Eagles shoot the tenth most 3pa per FGA in the country, and on top of that, are the 26th best shooting team from downtown, hitting at a 38.2 percent clip. That means threes. Lots of them. They average 23 a game. With Jackson, Raji, Paris, and the 6-foot-8 Trapani all able to pull it from beyond the arc (Raji is the worst with a .333 rate) They have the 13th best offense per kenpom in the country for a reason - they shoot very well, and they take great care of the ball.

What are they bad at?: Defense, in all forms. They are the 330th best team in the country at getting turnovers, 16.4 percent.

Interviews with a guy wearing a Wisconsin-Milwaukee Sweatshirt: For the UWM game, I interviewed my bro who owns a Wisconsin-Milwaukee sweatshirt. I got good feedback in the comments, so, I figured I'd make it a recurring feature. I caught up with him after NU found out their second-round opponent. (Note: he was not wearing a Wisconsin-Milwaukee sweatshirt at the time of the interview, but had it on the couch next to him.)

SoP: Hey, can you go buy a Boston College sweatshirt?
Bro Wearing a Wisconsin-Milwaukee Sweatshirt: Nah.

Thanks, Bro Wearing a Wisconsin-Milwaukee Sweatshirt!

Us and them: Northwestern is 2-2 against the Eagles, but they haven't played since 1998.

To avoid confusion: In the comments section, you guys often abbreviate "Bill Carmody" to "BC". I want to avoid any confusion. If you want to refer to Bill Carmody, the fidgety much maligned Northwestern basketball coach, please type "BCTFMMNBC" for short. If you want to refer to Boston College, the large Catholic University that occasionally qualifies for the NCAA tournament, please type "BCTLCUTOQFTNT". Or just keep typing BC. That might be less confusing.

Difference between the amount of times Boston College have gone to the NCAA Tournament and Northwestern has gone: 18, including three Elite Eight trips. Current NBA-ers include Jared Dudley and Craig Smith, but my personal fave will forever be Sean Williams, the Sean Williams who manages to smoke more weed than Shawne Williams.

Great Names?: I'm a really big fan of Biko Paris. First off, his first name is Biko, presumably named after South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, who made a lot of enormous contributions to the empowerment of black South Africans before giving his life for the cause being brutally beaten to death by South African police, not the least of which was the fact that the opening song on Midnight Marauders (and the song I use as my ringtone) is entitled "Steve Biko (Stir it Up)" even though the song is almost entirely not about Steve Biko except the fact Q-Tip says "Steve Biko" a bunch of times. Actually, check that, this was not a contribution made during Steve Biko's life, but its still important. Also, Biko Paris' last name is Paris, which is not in South Africa.

How can NU beat them?: NO 1-3-1 NONE NONE NONE. First off, BC runs the 1-3-1, although having watched them earlier in the year theirs looks different from NU - it's not extended as far, not as much trapping (hence the lack of forced turnovers). That said, they'll know how to kill it. Furthermore, everybody on that team can gun. Stay. out. of. the zone. I think NU will have an easier time driving this game - I wanna see Juice driving and then creating in the lane either by kicking, dumping to Mirkovic, or finishing. A seemingly reinvigorated John Shurna hopefully will have a repeat performance from downtown.

Can NU beat them?: Yes. Although it's a road game against a higher seeded team, Kenpom gives NU the higher ranking. They are as good, if not better than this team - they certainly have less ugly losses.

Should NU beat them? Not easily. This will be a tough one - they'll need to be hot from the field at the start, something that was true against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, but hadn't been for a few games before that.