Northwestern basketball is back Sunday night after seven days off for final exams. The Wildcats (7-1) will take the court at Welsh-Ryan Arena against the Chicago State Cougars (3-7) at 6 p.m. CT.
The Cougars come into Sunday's game having lost six straight games. Among those losses were defeats at the hands of Jacksonville State, Alabama State and Northern Illinois. Chicago State also lost to DePaul 96-72.
The Cougars' three wins on the year have all come against non-Division I opposition. Most recently, they knocked off mighty Trinity International University 81-70 at home. However, they did take Illinois to the brink on Nov. 23, but came up just short and ultimately lost 82-79.
Chicago State's offense is one of the worst in Division I college basketball. The Cougars are scoring .89 points per possession through 10 games. Point guard Elliot Cole leads the team in scoring at 12.9 points per game.
On the defensive end, Chicago State has mixed up its looks in 2015, which could provide valuable experience for Chris Collins' team. Chicago State coach Tracy Dildy has at times employed a zone press, and the Cougars force turnovers on 19.6 percent of opponent possessions, a full percentage point above the D-1 average. However, the Cougars, like many mid-majors, don't have the size to matchup with Northwestern.
Four of Northwestern next five games, beginning with the Chicago State matchup, look like snoozers on paper, but it's around this time of year that players can lose focus, so it'll be critical for the Wildcats to avoid any lapses and take care of business. Northwestern's last major conference opponent of non-conference play is DePaul on Saturday, Dec. 19.
Here's how you can watch Sunday evening's game vs. Chicago State: