Hey, Northwestern's playing tonight! And it's not important at all! BREATHES HEAVILY INTO PAPER BAG) Hahahahahahahaha basketball is fun! (DIES)
So, Northwestern fans experiencing the team's first true bubble run don't really know how to feel. It turns out I've mastered the correct feeling, and here's how you do it: AFJKLSDSA;KLFJDL;ASJKADLS;KJFDAS WHAT WHAT IS HAPPENING AHHHHHH AHHHH EVERY SINGLE BASKETBALL GAME WE PLAY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER TO HAPPEN EVER AND I'M NOT EVEN JOKING. There. Just be like that.
Hit the jump, or Northwestern will not make the NCAA Tournament.
Last time we met: Yeah it went to OT and Northwestern could've won in regulation but couldn't get a shot off awkward traveling call and then could've tied it in OT but Alex Marcotullio missed two of three free throws, point is, never happened.
Since we last met: Michigan has been, you know, good. Wins over OSU, and MSU (tempered by losses to those two, but, well, those are both very good teams) and only an awkward loss to Iowa and blowout loss to Arkansas (EDITORS NOTE: I watched the first half against Arkansas, where Michigan got run out of the gym, but they brought it back to lose by only two. My bad!) to make them seem like not-worldbeaters.
What can NU do better than last time?: Unfortunately, not much, but one distinct thing: Northwestern struggled with Michigan's size, and despite shooting 50 percent from the field and 6-for-13 from three while holding Michigan to 22-for-66 from the field, turned the ball over 15 times. That, literally, is why NU lost. The Cats were better or competent in every other aspect of the game, but that just didn't work out. Control that, and NU purportedly matches up well with Michigan.
Has Stu Douglass said anything recently that makes you make DMX dog-barking noises?: Let me check.
"That gym's pretty small and it doesn't get too loud" - Stu Douglass, on Welsh-Ryan Arena
GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR (grows enormous muscles) But seriously, Stu, let's see about that. I feel no mercy for a boy named Stu.
Can NU win? Yes. Michigan's last performance was uncharacteristically bad against Northwestern - they're typically a great team at hitting two-pointers, and couldn't buy baskets for their life last time, needing a spectacular performance from Tim Hardaway to even send it to OT. That won't happen again, but at the same time, NU did send this team into overtime on the road and nearly sent it to double OT - and now we're at home with the weight of a first ever NCAA bid on our shoulders.
Does NU need a win to go dancing?: No. But the win could cement those slippers to our feet. (Who dances in slippers?) Northwestern, at the bare minimum, needs two regular season wins and a conference tourney win and awful performances by all other bubble teams to dance. A win here could make that other nonsense into nonsense.