My friends! Northwestern basketball is on the precipice of history!
No, Northwestern is not going to make the NCAA Tournament. Not unless Northwestern wins the Big Ten Tournament. Even if Northwestern won its three remaining regular season games and made it to the Big Ten championship game and lost, they would be still be an NIT team at best at 20-15 (8-10) with no regular season wins over ranked opponents.
No, Northwestern isn't going to put together its first four-game Big Ten winning streak since 1967 BECAUSE WE ALREADY DID THAT WOOOOO UNSTOPPABLE WE'RE NEVER GONNA DIEEEEEEEEEEEE YEAHHHHHHH. We are, of course, on the verge of Northwestern's first five-game Big Ten win streak since the 13th century B.C. when Charlton Heston followed up a huge road win at Egypt with a neutral-site victory over some idol-worshipping punks in the Sinai desert.
No, we're on the verge of something else. We're on the verge of something magical: A day of Big Ten Tournament action where Northwestern doesn't play a basketball game AND hasn't already been eliminated.
The Big Ten Tournament has existed since 1998, and Northwestern has never had a bye. The closest the Wildcats came was in 2004, when they were the 6 seed, which meant they had to play No. 11 before losing handily to Michigan State.
If Northwestern gets the 10 seed, they'll have a first-round bye.
Right now, Northwestern is in 11th place in the Big Ten at 5-10. Minnesota is a half-game above us at 6-10 after beating Michigan State in OT, Nebraska is a half-game below after getting walloped by Nebraska. The good news is Northwestern holds a tiebreaker over Minnesota by virtue of our DOPE-ASS REGULAR SEASON VICTORY in our one meeting, so the Wildcats merely have to tie them.
Minnesota's next two games are vs. Wisconsin (probably a violent loss) and vs. Penn State (probably a win.) Nebraska's next two are at Illinois and vs. Maryland. These are probably both losses because Nebraska is free-falling and everybody knows that teams that lose a bunch of games in a row never turn around and win a few.
It seems pretty clear-cut: Northwestern has to win two out of its final three games. We play at Illinois, vs. Michigan, and at Iowa. Iowa's gonna be tough on the road, but the first two are doable. Kenpom even predicts we'll beat Michigan! Plus, it would be really, really fun to help spoil the Illini's NCAA hopes.
With a first-round bye, the Wildcats would only have to win four games in a row to make the NCAA Tournament instead of five. And now we know that IT'S TOTALLY POSSIBLE FOR NORTHWESTERN TO WIN FOUR GAMES IN A ROW so I can basically guarantee that Northwestern will make the NCAA Tournament if it earns a first-round bye.
(And sure, even if Northwestern gets a bye and wins, they'll have to play a team with a double bye. And yes, maybe it would be more fun for NU to not get a bye and play the 14th-best team in the Big Ten and maybe win a game in the tournament instead of having to play the 7th-best. But shut up! This is all we have! We can come back to those arguments if we end up in 11th.)
So go to your local furniture store and buy their most luxurious lounging couch. Go down to the grocery store, and buy several pounds of their finest seedless grapes to dangle into your mouth while lounging on your luxurious lounging couch. Go to Craigslist and hire servants to fan you. (You might have to pretend to be into some weird stuff to get this to happen.) We're going to spend our Big Ten Tournament Wednesday lounging while the 11-14 seeds battle for our amusement. DANCE, MONKEYS, DANCE