There was a big election yesterday, but the real battle for the hearts and minds of this country will be tonight, when Northwestern takes on the University of Chicago in an exhibition basketball game, semi-officially kicking off the Northwestern basketball season. (Guys, real basketball starts two days from now. And less than a week from now for Northwestern.)
The Wildcats are, by any counts, a team filled with unanswered questions. We don't know how good a lot of these players are, and we don't know that because we haven't seen them play, like, ever. Realistically, we won't get answers to some of these questions until Northwestern is in the heart of Big Ten play. We definitely won't get the answers from an exhibition game: there's really no way you can tell how good a team is by the way they play against the University of Chicago Maroons. This is who we're playing against:
Woah, chill out, PA announcer. Also, a maroon is a chicken thing? Also, 103-102? Also, WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
Our even nerdier former Big Ten buddies from Hyde Park have one 6-foot-8 guy on their roster. Northwestern can and will lose these games in years they turn out fine, but they could win by 50 and tell us nothing about the season. You can only get so much from watching Northwestern's lineup take on the Maroon... uh... five.... because of the talent disparity and meaningless nature of the game.
However, there is some stuff I feel we can figure out from watching Northwestern play in tonight's exhibition.
What will Bill Carmody's rotation look like?: Bill Carmody will probably be a little bit quicker to his bench than normal and we might see some garbage time, but it will be interesting to see which of the new guys he plans on playing, and for how long. We've heard some indicators of Carmody's lineup - Alex Olah and Michael Turner are the centers, for example - but still have little idea how he plans on utilizing the players in his lineup.
Shooters: Against physically inferior competition, anybody can look like a star, taking guys off the dribble or getting dozens of rebounds. One thing that doesn't really change is how good you are at taking open shots. Northwestern lives and dies by the three, so we can start gauging who will help Northwestern do the living part and who will help do the dying part.
Literally, what these guys look like: There's only so much you can learn from a player's specs on an online roster. How big is Olah, really? How does Jared Swopshire play? Again, we have no idea.
Aaron Liberman reactions: If the crowd on hand for a Northwestern exhibition basketball game - estimated size, 800? - goes off when he comes in, the future is good for NU's Hebrew Hammer.
That's pretty much all I got. But guys: it's basketball season! I live and love hoops, so this is the best. Unfortunately, I probably won't be able to watch just because it's only available at NUSports.com and its not free, but I'll try to gather what I can from it.