Northwestern’s chances to pull of an impressive road win against Purdue were dealt a major blow Tuesday after the program announced shooting guard Scottie Lindsey will be out with an illness.
Scottie Lindsey (illness) will miss tomorrow’s game at Purdue. #B1GCats— NU Men's Basketball (@NUMensBball) January 31, 2017
Lindsey — the team’s leading scorer at 15.4 points per game — has started all 22 games for the Wildcats this season and plays over 31 minutes per game.
The setback comes at a pivotal point in Northwestern’s season, and the Wildcats will have to hope the illness is short-lived. The Wildcats have a six-day break after playing Purdue, but they return to a tough schedule of Illinois, Wisconsin and Maryland in rapid succession.
With Lindsey out, Isiah Brown will likely see more minutes, and might be the best candidate to take Lindsey’s spot in the starting lineup. Brown has provided an offensive lift off the bench in conference play, and turned in important performances against Rutgers, Ohio State and Nebraska when the Wildcats’ offense needed a spark.
Head coach Chris Collins will have to experiment with different lineups to fill Lindsey’s lost minutes, so Vic Law Jr. will likely slide down and play shooting guard for stretches, and Jordan Ash could see more floor time. Law and Bryant McIntosh will probably see minute totals in the mid-to-upper thirties.
It will be crucial for Northwestern to find outside shooting without Lindsey. Nathan Taphorn sustained an ankle injury during the Indiana game, and he was in a walking boot Tuesday. If Taphorn does miss time, the Wildcats be will down two of their best shooters.
Speculating aside, losing Lindsey will hurt Northwestern in the short-term. Though he has struggled with back spasms in recent games, he has played like a star at times this season, and can be the focal point of the team’s offense.
He isn’t the only Wildcat to miss time this season: Dererk Pardon missed eight games, Aaron Falzon is done for the season after playing in the team’s first three games and Rapolas Ivanauskas has missed the entire season due to shoulder surgery.
With a group of tough games coming up, Northwestern’s depth will be put to the test, starting at Purdue.