Northwestern is back in action on Saturday when the Wildcats welcome the Western Michigan Broncos to Welsh-Ryan Arena. It is the third of four games in nine days for NU after exams. The Wildcats began the stretch in style with a high-flying 101-49 victory over Mississippi Valley State, but then pulled a complete 180 and slumped to a 80-67 defeat against Central Michigan.
Wednesday's loss was almost undoubtedly Northwestern's worst performance of the season. Collins was extremely upset with his team's lack of intensity and focus, and while that lack of preparedness is to be expected occasionally with a young team, it has happened far too often so far this season.
The Wildcats will look to bounce back Saturday against a Broncos team that comes into the game 6-3 and with a top-50 offense in terms of raw efficiency. Here's what you need to know:
Time: 2 p.m. CT
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WGN, 720 AM in Chicagoland
Line: Northwestern is a mere 3.5-point favorite after opening as a 5.5-point favorite.
KenPom: Northwestern has fallen to 154th in KenPom's rankings. Western Michigan is 20 spots higher at 134. However, as the home team, Northwestern is given a 59 percent chance to win by Pomeroy's model, with a projected score of 67-65.
Key Stat: Western Michigan shoots 39.3 percent from beyond the arc -- the 35th best 3-point shooting percentage in the country -- while Northwestern ranks in the bottom 100 nationally in opponent 3-point field goal percentage. The Wildcats must defend the 3-point line well. Austin Richie, a 6-foot-3 senior guard, is one WMU player in particular to be wary of.
Preview: If you're looking for more preview content, I did a short Q&A with the guys over at Hustle Belt, SB Nation's MAC site.
Check back here shortly before tipoff to follow along with us during the game on our gamethread.