Northwestern football got you down? Have no fear. The Northwestern men's basketball team is beginning its season just in time, as they host the Houston Baptist Huskies Friday night. We already told you why you should be excited about all of the other great sports going on at Northwestern, but here's why you should be optimistic about basketball season.
1. B1G basketball is better than B1G football
This has been a down year for the Big Ten in football, and unless Ohio State makes a big push and gets some help, it is unlikely that the conference will be represented in the first year of the College Football Playoff. In basketball, however, the B1G is probably the best conference in the nation this year (though the ACC might have something to say about that). Wisconsin is a pre-season title contender, and Michigan State, Ohio State, and/or Michigan seemingly are always in the mix in March and early April. Northwestern hosts teams that will certainly factor into the national title hunt. Right now, you can't exactly say that about the football team.
2. The freshmen!
The most hyped freshman class in school history features local product Victor Law, impressive guard Bryant McIntosh, and ultra-athletic Johnnie Vassar. Overall there are six freshman. Experience the infusion of youth! Although these young guys will surely experience growing pains now, in three years, when they enter their senior year, you won't want to have missed out on their earliest games in Evanston.
3. The (lack of) weather
One of the most common complaints about watching football live is that it is too cold to enjoy the game. Fans are often turned away by cold, rain, and anything else Mother Nature can hurl at Evanston. Can't employ that excuse here.
This team, in all likelihood, will have a pretty good record throughout the first half of the season. Northwestern faces a very weak out-of-conference schedule, and realistically be close to undefeated before Big Ten play opens up. Even if they are not undefeated, they should have a good record by the time they roll into Piscataway for their Big Ten opener against Rutgers on December 30th. For fans that haven't seen many wins on the gridiron this year, it will be nice to see some wins early in the basketball season — even if NU is beating up on the Houston Baptists of the world.
Even if Northwestern isn't a top-tier team this year (they likely will not be), the team will be exciting, will play several close Big Ten games, and could pull off a court-storming upset. (Anyone remember the distant memory of the football team's triumph over Wisconsin? That was fun.) Right now, Northwestern fans have the sour taste of low-scoring, uneventful, even unwatchable football games in their mouths. Basketball promises to be a much more viewer-friendly event. At least, it can't be any worse than the offenses of this football team and last year's basketball team.
So get excited for the youthful, promising, and surely entertaining 2014-2015 Northwestern basketball team. It all starts Friday night.