Hello, with Northwestern sports once again causing great pains amongst our readers, it’s time for a lighthearted and amusing mailbag. Let’s get started.
Q. What will become of Inside NU during March Madness this year? - (@beachykeen7)
Two years ago, when Northwestern failed to make the NIT after going 20-12 (8-10 B1G), this blog was left with few options for coverage during March Madness. Then, Bill Carmody made the NCAA Tournament with Holy Cross in one of the most ridiculous conference tournament runs in recent memory. In response, Henry Bushnell and Josh Rosenblat opted to turn the blog into “Inside Holy Cross.” This was doable as Holy Cross wears purple and white and was actually in the NCAA Tournament.
This year, we probably won’t be able to celebrate Holy Cross. Carmody’s Crusaders are seventh in the Patriot League and would need another minor miracle to make the NCAA Tournament. We could try to root for Kansas State, another purple Wildcats team, but that would also mean rooting for Bruce Weber, Northwestern’s eternal boogeyman during Weber’s time coaching Illinois (Weber went 13-4 against Northwestern over nine seasons). No. That’s not happening. Not him.
Alright, next we have Loyola Chicago, a school right down the road that has the best basketball team in Illinois this year. Loyola is 23-5 with a win over Florida and a chokehold on the Missouri Valley regular season title. If the Ramblers can survive to their first NCAA Tournament since 1985, I’d root for them, but we’re not turning the blog into a Loyola fan site.
That leaves us with joke ideas. I was thinking we could do “Inside NU-bery” and just talk about this year’s contenders for the Newbery Medal. We’d review all the books and maybe do a power ranking of all the winners from 1922-2018. We could also go with Inside NU-foundlands and just post photos of dogs.
Seems good to me.
Q. Have you ever wanted to be Willie the Wildcat for a day? - (@angrysteveworld)
The short answer is probably not. I am not the most socially vibrant person, and unless you want Willie to be sitting in a corner writing absurdist short fiction about various sports, you probably don’t want me in the job.
However, I have a soft spot for mascots. There’s nothing more abstractly comforting than having someone who is paid to make you feel better succeed at their job. After a particularly miserable day at Olivet Nazarene University that included the worst mile run of my life, the mascot for the ONU basketball team put its arm around my shoulder and consoled me as I headed out for the cooldown. That was great. Mascots are generally good, and I support them heartily.
Q. Vic Law seemingly always appears incredibly tired and out of energy, just me or is his lack of energy a big problem? - (@BryceMitchell11)
Yeah, this is a tough one. I don’t think the problem is that he’s always tired, he just seems like an unusually streaky player. This made more sense last season when Law was coming off a season-long injury and rehab process, but his lack of consistency this year has been troubling. For one, Vic Law has always been up-and-down offensively. I feel like this fatigue point is, firstly, a function of his insane defensive abilities. He puts so much effort on that side of the ball and his offense suffers as a result.
Law has also taken some hard hits this year. He hasn’t seemed right since the nasty fall he had behind the backboard against DePaul that knocked him out with a concussion. I can’t help but wonder if the time he missed and whatever post-concussion symptoms he felt at the beginning of the season are starting to affect him now.
The Michigan State game was a perfect example of what you’re talking about. In the five games prior to Michigan State, he didn’t get to double figures. Suddenly, in the first half against the No. 2 team in the nation, it looked like Law couldn’t miss. He splashed four threes. Everything looked fine. Then, in the second half, he was essentially a non-factor. I don’t know what’s going on there, but it seems like he doesn’t have the ability to stay present throughout an entire game. In fact, it often feels like Dererk Pardon is the only one who plays a full 40 minutes every night, with Lindsey and McIntosh going through long stretches of listless basketball this year. Definitely something to work on for Vic in the offseason.
And now Law might be injured again after leaving the Maryland game late with a twisted ankle. Ugh. This season is just so depressing.
Q. Who is the next Northwestern player taken in the NBA Draft? - (Will Ragatz)
Well, I guess I’m going with Pete Nance? He already has serious NBA pedigree with his dad and brother. He apparently has the athletic ability to make an impact right away at Northwestern, and we shall see how his career transpires. If it’s not Nance, then I have no idea who it’ll be. I don’t think Pardon or Law will get drafted unless they get a lot better next year.
Q. What is your spirit animal and why? - (@NUWildside)
Rabbit. This is solely because of the novel Watership Down.
Q. How do you feel about the Mets? I heard you were a casual fan. (@EmilyH107)
The Mets have broken me. Currently, the most-read story about the Mets is that Tim Tebow will eventually get a shot in the major leagues. I am considering never watching baseball again.