After a shaky win over DePaul, Northwestern (10-1) faces a quick turnaround, as it prepares to welcome the Sacred Heart Pioneers (1-8) to Welsh-Ryan Arena in its second-to-last non-conference game.
The Wildcats continued their winning ways on Saturday, beating a pesky DePaul team at Allstate Arena-- a venue the visiting Wildcats are actually closer to geographically than the host Blue Demons. Chris Collins' bunch couldn't get anything going from the outside and somehow managed to get to overtime, clawing back after trailing for much of the game. In overtime, the Wildcats found their range. Aaron Falzon hit two huge threes after going 0-for-6 in regulation, and Northwestern went home happy.
Enter the upcoming opponent: Sacred Heart. The Pioneers are making the trip from Fairfield, Connecticut, about an hour's trip by car from New York City and hometown of legendary New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath and Grammy-winning singer John Mayer. As for the basketball team from the area, well, it hasn't been pretty. With just one win in their first nine games and riding an eight-game losing streak (they defeated Quinnipiac to open the season), the Pioneers have struggled majorly out of the gate, ranking 288th according to Kenpom.
It's really the defensive end where Anthony Latina's team struggles, as seven of nine opponents have put up 80+ points. Offensively, sophomore guard Cane Broome leads the way, averaging about 19 points per game. Graduate student forward Jordan Allen and Broome's backcourt mate Quincy McKnight also average double figures scoring.
But the player we'll be watching out for most is Tevin Falzon, older brother of Northwestern forward Aaron. Tevin missed three games earlier in the year but has played major minutes in six straight and put up 21 points on Holy Cross. The 6-foot-7 senior leads the Pioneers in rebounding this year at over seven boards per game.
Overall, however, there's a reason Sacred Heart is 1-8. It's not a team that should in any way, shape or form challenge Northwestern, especially with the Wildcats at home. This should be a chance for Northwestern to get its outside shooting back up to par, win the battle down low against an undersized team, and allow Aaron to bring home family bragging rights.