Merry Christmas to all our readers who celebrate the holiday. The editors decided to throw together a quick roundtable on one gift they want from Wildcat sports this holiday season! What do you want from the ‘Cats? Let us know in the comments.
Eli Karp: Basketball buzz that sustains us all through the winter
Football has done more than its part helping us get through the final quarter of 2020 and after the Citrus Bowl will hand off one final time to the basketball squads. Hopefully it’s not a run up the middle. Northwestern is currently a sports school™️ and will very much be one if Lia gets her gift (see below). Women’s basketball deserves its shot in the NCAA Tournament, and my fingers are crossed the show will go on in March. If they can continue their strong play and the men’s team can build off its strong start, that would provide a lot of excitement for the first couple of months of 2021. Hopefully, by the time the Big Dances roll around, the end of the pandemic will be truly in sight.
Lia Assimakopoulos: Football and both basketball programs to be ranked at once
I’m not gonna lie, the first seven months of my term as editor-in-chief were rough. Right as Eli and I took over in March, literally a week after the women’s team lost in the Big Ten tournament, the sports world shut down, and Northwestern athletics were M.I.A. until October. After having to suffer through that challenging start, this football season and the start of men’s and women’s basketball have made up for it, but my time as editor will officially be complete if all three programs make the AP top-25 rankings in the same week. Come on, AP, make it happen. We’ve earned this.
Daniel Olinger: More time for the Buie-Berry-Beran-Kopp-Nance lineup from NUMBB
Considering I just wrote about the goodness of the Nance as a big playmaking hub the other day, this should come as no surprise. The junior forward is the second best passer on the team behind Buie, and this lineup surrounds him with a cast of four players who’ve shot a collective 47-for-92 (51.6 percent!) from three so far this season, opening up the court for all manner of offensive goodness. Contrary to what most of us media and fans predicted, this team has been surprisingly enjoyable to watch, and I can only hope they experiment more with versatile grouping more (get well soon Robbie!).
Colin Kruse: A deep tournament run from WBB
It’s safe to say that the women’s basketball team has probably been the most entertaining squad to cover over the past year (not to take away from the last few months with football or the last week with men’s basketball). It's been phenomenal to see this talented, disciplined and fun core of players develop into a major threat on a national level. The electric atmosphere in WRA when the ‘Cats clinched a Big Ten title against Illinois contrasted the unreal reality of COVID-19 wiping out the NCAA Tournament, and now Joe McKeown’s squad is back with a sense of urgency and vengeance. Pulliam, Burton, Wood and company have the capability to go far in March. Nothing would make this managing editor more happy than to see that happen.
Mac Stone: 12 wins for NUMBB and a conference title for NUWBB
I heavily underestimated men’s basketball this year, as I predicted them to go 5-19 on the season with a single win in conference play. They’ve now won five of their first six games, two of which were against Big Ten opponents. The ‘Cats are far better than the past couple of seasons, and it would be a delight to see them go 12-12 and take strides forward. Women’s basketball returned most of its production from last year and has looked great early on, so it’s fair to say they’ll be competing for the Big Ten trophy later this year. All in all, it would be great to see men’s basketball go .500, and a conference title for NUWBB would be a dream come true.