Sick! Northwestern gets to play a team on the road that randomly decided to be elite for no apparent reason! Should be fun!
Northwestern plays Michigan, and its another opportunity for Northwestern to notch a victory against a quality team. NU is, well, 0-4 on this front in four tries, but, can't hurt to keep trying? Or can it? I don't really know at this point, I'm pretty drunk, mainly to numb the pain.
Anyway, hit the jump.
Are they good?: YUHHHHH! Michigan has three losses on the year: Indiana (real good) Duke (real good) and Virginia (pretty good, but, whatever.) You probably look at this and think, "hey! Northwestern also only has losses against quality teams!" But Northwestern didn't just go out and beat Wisconsin by 18 points.
Who they got?: You know about Tim Hardaway Jr. and his father's penchant for homophobia. (Between Timmy Jr. and Glen Rice Jr., this year is apparently all about making fun of the sexual fears of various Miami Heat scions.) However, something more important has emerged up in Ann Arbor: while Hardaway is the team's featured scorer, freshman point guard Trey Burke, once thought to be the second-most-important freshman point guard named "Tre" in the Big Ten, has been a revelation. Burke has replaced the seemingly Juice Thompson-level irreplaceable Darius Morris. He doesn't do quite as much - Morris assisted on 44.9 percent of field goals, which is running off a cliff but not actually falling until you look down and realize you're no longer on land-level absurd, while Burke is at a more lifelike 29.8 percent - but with a lineup filled with shooters in Evan Smotryczzjcjz;ckjzljlcjklkljcjklcz (sic), Zach Novak, and Stu Douglass and an "I can hit uncontested layups!" center type in Jordan Morgan, he's worked wonders.
What they good at?: As I noted, I'd assume the team's strength would be shooting - Smotrkczl; is hitting over 50 percent from downtown and other peeps gun as well - but the team has become one of the nation's most potent at scoring inside the arc, scoring on 56.6 percent of shots inside the arc, fourth in the country. This comes from a combination of Hardaway developing into an alarmingly potent player off the dribble, Morgan literally only taking shots that he's almost guaranteed to score on, and Burke being a good enough playmaker that he can score whil e allowing even Smjkljkljlkazccccc and Novak to get good looks from inside.
What are they bad at?: Michigan isn't a spectacular defensive team. In womp womp news for Northwestern, the Wolverines have shied away from the score upon-y 1-3-1 zone they've favored under John Beilein and played more sets out of a man than in years past.
Can NU win? (Bold font appears to have gone out on my computer.): Not likely. I suppose Northwestern might be able to go beat what appears to be a very good Big Ten team on the road, but tourney bids don't happen by themselves.