The Northwestern Wildcats defeated the Michigan Wolverines 67-65 at Welsh-Ryan Arena Wednesday night, but the win was even more significant than just the usual conference win.
First of all, it was an incredible last second buzzer beater win that ended in a court storming, but it was also Northwestern’s 21st win of the season, a program record.
Northwestern has played over 100 years of collegiate basketball, but the 2016-17 squad is the first one to surpass the 20-win plateau. The previous record was a three-way tie at 20 wins between the 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2015-16 teams.
Chris Collins joins Bill Carmody as the only other head coach in Northwestern history with multiple 20-win seasons at the helm. (They’re also the only head coaches to ever win 20 wins in any season, but you already knew that.)
Wednesday’s victory was also Northwestern’s 10th conference victory of the year, the first time they’ve ever done it in the Big Ten as it’s currently constituted. The Wildcats hadn’t won ten conference games since 1932, when Arthur Lonborg led Northwestern to a 15-4 season and a 10-2 conference record.
At this point it’s beginning to look like this will also be the first Northwestern team to make the NCAA Tournament, but what is clear is that this team is already in unprecedented territory.