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Will Northwestern men’s basketball lose at home again this year?

The Wildcats have gone 11-1 in Welsh-Ryan Arena this season, begging the question: Will they ever lose again?

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Northwestern
Northwestern center Matt Nicholson (34) yells after guard Brooks Barnhizer (not shown) scored versus Illinois in the Wildcats’ 96-91 overtime win over the Fighting Illini.
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

This college basketball season, no team has exemplified home-court advantage quite like the Northwestern Wildcats. Save for one gruesome loss against Chicago State, the ‘Cats have been terrific at home, racking up 11 of their 15 wins in Evanston. In fact, home wins have been responsible for a large portion of their current resume, including electric wins versus now No. 21 Dayton, No. 1 Purdue, Maryland, and No. 10 Illinois. These wins are bound to play a big part in their future tournament hopes, but one question remains as NU looks to push through its final stretch of the season: how long can they keep this streak going?

vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers (15-6, 5-5 B1G – 6th in Big Ten)

Date: Wednesday, February 7th

Time: 8:00 PM CT

Northwestern’s next home matchup might just be their hardest for the remainder of the season. After a rough, hard-fought loss in Lincoln in mid-January, the Wildcats will be looking to get revenge on the Cornhuskers on the 7th. The ‘Cats will be fresh off two road games against Purdue and Minnesota, so returning to Welsh-Ryan Arena will be a huge plus for them. Nebraska is a mere 1-5 on the road this season, so if NU can contain Husker guard Keisei Tominaga, who had 14 points in their first matchup, NU should be able to pick up a win over the biggest riser in the Big Ten.

vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (9-11, 3-6 B1G – 12th in Big Ten)

Date: Sunday, February 11th

Time: 12:00 PM CT

Northwestern will face PSU directly after the Cornhuskers, and being at home in back-to-back matchups should allow it to get into a good groove heading into the thick of their February stretch. The Nittany Lions have a pair of good scoring guards in Kanye Clary and Ace Baldwin Jr., but they have little to show for outside of that in Big Ten play. Unless things go massively wrong, Northwestern should have no problem getting past an inferior foe.

vs. Michigan Wolverines (7-13, 2-7 B1G – 14th in Big Ten)

Date: Thursday, February 22nd

Time: 8:00 PM CT

Speaking of struggling squads, Michigan has looked abysmal this season, sporting the worst record in the Big Ten. A night game on the road doesn’t make things any easier for the Wolverines.

After another difficult two-game road stretch, the house should be packed to welcome home the Wildcats. Going up against the worst defensive team in the B1G, NU should feast behind performances from any one of its plethora of scoring talent.

vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (12-8, 4-5 B1G – 6th in Big Ten)

Date: Saturday, March 2nd

Time: 8:00 PM CT

Iowa may be a tricky game to handle, on the other hand. The Hawkeyes are the definition of polar opposites this season, with an extremely efficient offense (1st in B1G) alongside a very subpar defense (13th in B1G). Northwestern’s defense hasn’t been perfect (10th in B1G), so the possibility of a shootout is a real danger. If Chris Collins can get his team to limit scorers like fifth-year Ben Krikke, the Wildcats should be in the clear.

vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers (13-7, 4-5 B1G – 10th in Big Ten)

Date: Saturday, March 9th

Time: 8:00 PM CT

For their senior day, the Wildcats will be facing the Golden Gophers to wrap up their regular season. Minnesota has been an unexpected riser in the Big Ten thus far, largely thanks to four double-digit scorers, led by Dawson Garcia, to spread the floor. However, the ‘Cats should be prepared for this game given the ramifications, especially for final-year guys like Buie, Ty Berry, Matt Nicholson, and Ryan Langborg.

In short, if things hold, the Wildcats should continue to dominate at home as they have been all season. Taking care of business on the home court will most likely spell their fate and be a major factor on Selection Sunday.