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Northwestern Basketball Practice Notes: Feb. 12

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Collins spoke Thursday on a variety of topics. Here's what he had to say, plus the latest notes surrounding Northwestern basketball:

- Nate Taphorn is presumably still a question mark for Sunday. He was in practice gear Thursday, but it didn't look like he would be a full go.

- JerShon Cobb actually had a boot on out on the practice floor. He was participating in passing drills, but it didn't look like he would be practicing. He is also questionable for Sunday.

- Collins said that whereas a lot of teams right now would be solely focusing on game preparation in practice, he still has his team doing a lot of fundamental work. "That's our only way to get better," he said. "We have to develop from within."

- Collins on the stretch of close losses in January: "We played really well, we just had no results for it, that's what really hurt this team. Would we be talking differently right now if they don't call a foul on Law on the last play when he doesn't touch Valentine? Would we be talking differently right now if they don't call the two..." [Before he mentioned the goaltending calls against Ohio State, it seemed like Collins realized he probably shouldn't be directing blame at the refs, and he cut himself off. But you get the point.]

- Collins: "We've played some good basketball. We did not play good basketball on Tuesday. It was our worst game."

- Collins stressed the importance of defensive transition and not allowing Iowa, "one of the hottest teams in our league," to score before NU's defense is set.

- On that note, Collins said that he eventually wants his teams to push the ball off of made baskets like Michigan State was doing Tuesday. "Definitely," he said. "We have some guys in the open floor that can be good... [But] right now, we don't have the speed and athleticism to play that way." He later continued, "I want our guys to be opportunistic, but you also have to be realistic about who you have."

- The common perception from fans and media is that Vic Law has struggled for most of his freshman season, but Collins made sure to point out that Law's scoring and rebounding averages are still better than most freshmen in the country. (A lot of that, though, has to do with how much he is playing.)

- There was a lot of talk (thanks to Skip Myslenski for the oddly persistent questioning) about Chris Collins' junior season at Duke, when his team went 13-18 and 2-14 in the ACC only a year after going to the National Championship game, and three years after winning two straight national titles. That Duke team lost nine conference games in a row to open ACC play, and many of the losses, including a double-OT loss to North Carolina, were close. Collins said he has told his team a bit about that season, and has drawn some comparisons.