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Lineup stats hint at Northwestern's plan for the season

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Here's how the Wildcats could look this year.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern absolutely dominated McKendree in an impressive 102-52 exhibition win to open the season. While this was just an exhibition game against weak competition, the game did give us a look at some of the lineups that Chris Collins could use this season.

There was a lot of experimenting throughout the game, and no lineup dominated minutes-wise, but there were a few lineups that stood out. Here's a look at all of the lineups that played at least two minutes.

Lineup Minutes Pts Pts Against Possessions +/- PPP eFG%
McIntosh/Cobb/Lumpkin/Law/Olah 8 16 2 12 +14 1.333 68%
McIntosh/Cobb/Demps/Law/Olah 6 18 7 12 +11 1.5 89%
Sobo/Demps/Lindsey/Law/Kreisberg 4.5 18 10 11 +8 1.636 100%
Sobo/Demps/Lumpkin/Law/Olah 3 7 2 4 +5 1.75 117%
Sobo/Demps/Law/Lindsey/Skelly 2 6 2 3 +4 2 75%
Vassar/McIntosh/Lumpkin/Cobb/Skelly 2 0 6 3 -6 0 0%

(You can see more in-depth stats in this document.)

The first two lineups are going to be Northwestern's two main lineups, though we knew that going in. It's just McKendree, yes, but that's a really impressive group. And not surprisingly, the lineup with Tre Demps was more effective on offense, while the lineup with Sanjay Lumpkin was more effective on defense. All six players complement each other well. Bryant McIntosh's vision, with the dynamic play of Vic Law and the ever-improving post ability of Alex Olah provide a really good mix. And moreover, there will be a lot of good shooters on the floor when those guys are out there.

The third lineup is also interesting. The defense was pretty bad with those five, to no surprise, but the offense was superb, and it had an effective field goal percentage of 100 percent even with extended possessions. Most impressive was the group's ability to push the ball in transition, which was also effective when Gavin Skelly was subbed for Jeremiah Kreisberg. I can't imagine that group will play a ton this year, but I also didn't expect to see it at all today, so it will be interesting to watch to see if that group comes in as a change of pace throughout the year.

We could also potentially see Johnnie Vassar in that lineup, especially when NU is playing a really good/crafty guard. If he can force turnovers, that will push the ball even more and lead to a more efficient offense.

We also need to revise our minute projections. It seems unlikely that Tre Demps will play as much as we expected, mainly because there are so many other guys that can play. Moreover, we seemed to underestimate Scottie Lindsey's minutes, as he was extremely impressive in multiple ways on offense — as a shooter and driving the lane — and on defense as a shot-blocker. He won't play in other games as much as he played today, but he could play a bigger role than we'd anticipated.

It will be an interesting year, for sure, and expect the lineups to change throughout the year. However, right now, it looks like we're going to see a lot of Bryant McIntosh, Tre Demps, JerShon Cobb, Sanjay Lumpkin, Vic Law and Alex Olah, with some more contributing in the rotation. Even better news is that they look like they'll be more efficient than anyone expected, even if we've only seen them play McKendree.