There's football tomorrow, and I'd imagine few people have interest in reading about Northwestern's close win against IUPUI, but here are a few analysis points following the game.
- This is a transition year, sure, but to be this inept against IUPUI — the Jaguars come in at No. 296 in the most updated KenPom ratings — is pretty concerning. This is still one of Northwestern's most talented teams ever, ad to play a team that bad so close can't happen.
While this may be NU's most talented team ever, it's still one of the least talented major conference teams. Lament Bill Carmody's recruiting all you want, but he did an outstanding job of using a system to neutralize the talent gap. That isn't to say Chris Collins should run the Princeton, but he needs to keep aspects of that offense if NU is going to succeed this year. Eventually, Collins might be able to bring in players who can run and play a more free-flowing style, but that time has yet to come.
Collins did say that he hopes to run a motion offense and use cuts to get the ball inside, which is a good strategy. However, NU hasn't been able to do that consistently, or really at all. The only player who has done a good job at that is Sanjay Lumpkin, and after a good first half he had to sit for most of the second half with foul trouble.
- Speaking of Lumpkin, he was clearly NU's best player when he was in today. He's a great rebounder and good at attacking the basket. He's going to have a good career at NU.
- The point guards simply has to be better. Tre Demps had a nice couple of games against Illinois State and UIC, and Dave Sobolewski shot well against UIC, but both have to be more consistent. Both struggle with wasted possessions — bad shots, turnovers and blocked shots — in what has been a sloppier year than normal for NU. Heading into this game, NU ranked 153rd in the country in turnover percentage. Most years, it's among the best in the country. A lot of that is on the point guards, and it has to improve, because this offense needs all the possessions it can get.
- It's clear that for NU to play well, Drew Crawford and JerShon Cobb both have to play well. After a terrible first half, both players stepped up in the second half. Crawford helped cut the deficit and Cobb hit a clutch fadeaway for the win. Yeah, both need to be more consistent, but the Wildcats really do have two "last shot-capable" go-to guys. That's two more than last year.