Is Northwestern Finally Breaking Through?

Posted by Jim Root on November 30th, 2016

It’s nearly impossible to talk about Northwestern basketball without mentioning its ignominious streak of missing the NCAA Tournament in every year since the event’s inception. While that dishonor receives nowhere near the public interest that north side of Chicago neighbor Cubs’ 107-year World Series drought gets, it’s a similar marker of futility. Wait — what’s that? The Cubs did what this year? Well, I’ll be darned… so can another long Windy City sports dry spell be snapped this year? Early indicators look good.

Bryant McIntosh looks like an all-conference lead guard, both scoring and distributing the basketball. (AP)

Bryant McIntosh looks like an all-conference lead guard, both scoring and distributing the basketball. (AP)

The outlook at this point is relatively positive, as head coach Chris Collins did an excellent job of fixing last year’s primary problem — an incredibly weak non-conference schedule (334th nationally, per both KenPom’s ranking system and ESPN’s RPI formula). The Wildcats have already played a road game at Butler (L), neutral site games against Texas (W) and Notre Dame (L), and beat Wake Forest at home in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge earlier this week. A win at Butler or against the Irish would have been massively helpful for Northwestern’s at-large cause, but a vastly improved non-conference strength of schedule already puts Collins’ team ahead of last year’s resume. As it’s not even December yet, there’s still work to do. Northwestern cannot afford a loss in its five remaining non-conference home games against shaky-to-very-bad foes, and a December 17 date with Dayton at the United Center in Chicago looms as the team’s last chance to provide substance to its ledger. That game against the Flyers will present the Wildcats with the odd situation of having an interior advantage, something that they are unlikely to experience during the Big Ten grinder. Read the rest of this entry »

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Best YouTube Moments in Stanford Basketball: The Nominees

Posted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) on February 24th, 2014

Last month we introduced our new project, which is centered around determining the top YouTube moment in Pac-12 basketball history. We continue the nomination portion with Stanford.

[ed note: These are just the top moments we could find on YouTube, which has a vast number and array of videos, but we won’t be able to cover the entire 99 years of the conference.]

 

We open with a shot that I think is the favorite for this entire tournament. Down 77-74 with 27 seconds remaining against #12 Arizona, Josh Childress buried a corner three off a Matt Lotich steal to pull the second-ranked and undefeated Cardinal even. What happened next will go down in Pac-12 lore, as guard Nick Robinson, known for his defense, stole the ball while Arizona tried to hold the ball for the final shot. Robinson took two dribbles and put up a 35-foot runner as time expired, which hit nothing but twine. The shot set off one of the greatest court rushes in the history of the game, as the blacked-out “6th Man” dog-piled the Stanford players in the corner of the floor. If you look closely, you can even see an on-top-of-the-world Tiger Woods celebrating his team’s 20th straight win in the video below.

Another clip, another buzzer-beater. Four weeks after the above thriller against Arizona, Stanford was trailing Washington State by one in Pullman with 17 seconds remaining. The Cardinal forced a five-second count on the Cougars, giving the still-unbeaten team the ball back with a chance for the win. With 10 seconds left, Stanford lost control of the ball but Nick Robinson came away with it after a mad scramble. He shoveled the ball over to Matt Lotich, who hoisted a deep three at the buzzer. It dropped, of course, to give the Cardinal their 26th consecutive win and stunning the home crowd. Read the rest of this entry »

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Best YouTube Moments in California Basketball: The Nominees

Posted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) on February 18th, 2014

Last month we introduced our new project, which is centered around determining the top YouTube moment in Pac-12 basketball history. We continue the nomination portion with California.

[ed note: These are just the top moments we could find on YouTube, which has a vast number and array of videos, but we won’t be able to cover the entire 99 years of the conference.]

 

We open with a shot from who is quickly becoming one of the most clutch California players in the history of its program. Tied at 46 with the shot clock turned off on the road against #23 Oregon, the Golden Bears decided that they would either win it in regulation or head to overtime. Guard Justin Cobbs chose the first option, stepping back and hitting nothing but twine to put Cal ahead by two with 0.7 seconds remaining. Oregon’s desperation heave at the buzzer fell well short, and the win kept alive what would end up as a seven-game winning streak for the Golden Bears. Read the rest of this entry »

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Best YouTube Moments in Oregon State Basketball: The Nominees

Posted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) on February 10th, 2014

Last month we introduced our new project, which is centered around determining the top YouTube moment in Pac-12 basketball history. We continue the nomination portion with Oregon State.

[ed note: These are just the top moments we could find on YouTube, which has a vast number and array of videos, but we won’t be able to cover the entire 99 years of the conference.]

 

We open with perhaps the most explosive dunk in Beavers basketball history, courtesy of shooting guard Jared Cunningham. With three minutes left in the opening week of conference play, Oregon State was hanging onto a two-point lead against vaunted Arizona. Getting a running start from the three-point line, Cunningham read Joe Burton’s missed jumper perfectly, rising over a pair of Wildcats and one of his own teammates to slam the ball home one-handed. If you were watching the game live, you’ll remember how officials just stopped the game for a good 20 seconds because no one was quite sure what they just witnessed. There was no foul or timeout called, everyone just stopped playing. I thought that was pretty cool. If the Beavers wouldn’t have pulled the upset, then the play would have just been remembered as a nice moment in an otherwise tough loss. But the offense continued to thrive down the stretch, and by the end of the night the Beavers were tied atop the league standings and owned the #6 play of the day on SportsCenter.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Best YouTube Moments in Oregon Basketball: The Nominees

Posted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) on January 16th, 2014

Last month we introduced our new project, which is centered around determining the top YouTube moment in Pac-12 basketball history. We continue the nomination portion with Oregon.

[ed note: These are just the top moments we could find on YouTube, which has a vast number and array of videos, but we won’t be able to cover the entire 99 years of the conference.]

 

Up until this point, all of our videos have just been single plays. This Oregon nominee features our first real “moment,” which begins with point guard Aaron Brooks dropping a pull-up jumper to put the Ducks ahead of top-ranked UCLA by two with 13.4 seconds remaining. After a Bruins timeout, the Oregon defense stiffened, forcing a wild Josh Shipp three-point attempt at the buzzer that fell well short. Pandemonium ensued as the Pit Crew student section seemed to spill onto the court from all four corners.

This moment starts with the Ducks on defense in game three of the CBI Championship series, with the score tied and 33 seconds left. The ball was inbounded to Creighton guard Antoine Young, who got lost “deep in the woods,” backing up across the non-existent half-court line that was missing from the brand new Matthew Knight Arena in its initial season. Oregon got the ball back on the violation, and with two seconds left on the clock, E.J. Singler banked in a runner to give the Ducks the CBI title. Once again, the Pit Crew was thrown into a frenzy, celebrating wildly as first-year coach Dana Altman knocked off his former team in the tournament final.

This is as close as Oregon basketball will ever get to “The Pick.” With four seconds left and the score even at 68-68 in overtime, guard Damyean Dotson poked away a bad Utah pass and took it the length of the court, slamming the ball home to win the game and keeping the Ducks at a perfect 13-0 record.

If you have any other nominees, put them in the comments and we will add it to the poll. Voting closes a week from now, and the top vote-getter advances to the tournament of champions.

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Best YouTube Moments In Washington State Basketball: The Nominees

Posted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) on January 13th, 2014

Last month we introduced our new project, which is centered around determining the top YouTube moment in Pac-12 basketball history. We continue the nomination portion with Washington State.

[ed note: These are just the top moments we could find on YouTube, which has a vast number and array of videos, but we won’t be able to cover the entire 99 years of the conference.]

We open with this beauty of a game-saving block from forward D.J. Shelton. Down by one in the first game of the best-of-three CBI Championship series, Pittsburgh guard Tray Woodall caught the ball at midcourt with 3.5 seconds left on the clock. Woodall took two dribbles, drove into the lane, and attempted to throw in a reverse layup into the hoop as time expired. Only the ball never got there. Shelton bodied up the guard as he got into the paint, then swatted away the futile attempt with great force. A Panthers’ three-point attempt as time expired fell short, and the Cougars escaped with the 67-66 win.

Down one. Overtime. Two and a half seconds left. Senior Day. Against No. 14 Arizona State. That’s the scene for senior Taylor Rochestie, who then buried a three from southern Canada to spring the upset. This is what’s great about college hoops, and this is definitely the highlight of the Washington State options. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ranking the 37 Pac-12 Basketball Uniforms: Part III

Posted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) on December 30th, 2013

After a month and a half of basketball, the Pac-12 teams have debuted 37 different uniforms. Here we rank them in a three-part series, starting from the bottom and working our way up. Today, #12 to #1. Make sure to check out parts one and two as well.  

12. Washington’s Golds

Senior Guard C.J. Wilcox Modeling His Alternate Gold Jersey (credit: Washington Athletics)

Senior Guard C.J. Wilcox Modeling His Alternate Gold Jersey (credit: Washington Athletics)

We opened our last post of this series with a gold jersey, and we do the same here. I like Washington’s version because it’s not a very flashy gold, more low-key. One of the best alternate uniforms in the conference.

11. Oregon’s Regular YellowsThis is Oregon we’re talking about, so we do have to distinguish between its different yellow uniforms. The Ducks like to break these out at home, and for good reason. The black lettering looks great on the bright contrast.

10. UCLA’s Powder Blues

Sophomore Guard/Forward Kyle Anderson At Madison Square Garden (credit: Jason DeCrow)

Sophomore Guard/Forward Kyle Anderson At Madison Square Garden (credit: Jason DeCrow)

Some classic uniforms are boring. Others are iconic, like these powder blues from the Bruins. They open our top 10 and I’m loving the way the block gold lettering is big and bold, yet doesn’t take away from the beautiful blue. You also have to love the dedication to John Wooden in the upper right quadrant. A pyramid with his initials is a great way to honor the late great legend.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Ranking the 37 Pac-12 Basketball Uniforms: Part I

Posted by Connor Pelton (@ConnorPelton28) on December 23rd, 2013

After a month and a half of basketball, the Pac-12 teams have debuted 37 different uniforms. Here we rank them in a three-part series, starting from the bottom and working our way up. Today, #37 to #25. 

37. Stanford’s Whites

Junior Guard Chasson Randle Modeling The Worst Pac-12 Uniform This Season (credit: Uniform Critics)

Junior Guard Chasson Randle Modeling The Worst Pac-12 Uniform This Season (credit: Uniform Critics)

Look, there’s nothing awful about these unis, but they are just so simple. Nothing jumps out about it, and if I had only one word to describe it, it would be boring.

36. Washington State’s Whites: The “Cougars” font is impressive, but otherwise, it’s the same story. Plain and boring.

35. Utah’s Whites

Junior Guard Austin Eastman At The Free Throw Line (credit: Utah Athletics)

Junior Guard Austin Eastman At The Free Throw Line (credit: Utah Athletics)

This is an interesting uniform. It has potential, but is just a bit too busy. The number is too big and distracts from what could have been a nice design underneath the “Utah.” What the design is, we’ll never know, thanks to the huge numeral covering it up.

Read the rest of this entry »

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ACC Basketball Twitter Must-Follows: Part I

Posted by Chris Kehoe on November 4th, 2013

In today’s increasingly technological world, so much of the daily breaking news and interaction happens over social media sites. Fans can interact with players, analysts and writers to voice their opinions and visa versa. ACC basketball is no different and has a large presence on Twitter. In the first of a three-segment series on some of the most insightful and entertaining ACC basketball accounts on Twitter, we take a deeper look at the conference-wide accounts that provide a wide breadth of knowledge across the ACC. The subsequent two parts will break down team-specific Twitter handles that are also worth a follow. These are some accounts worth checking out:

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Conference-Wide Twitter Follows

  • @ACCSports covers both ACC basketball and football; also located on accsports.com.
  • @ShaneRyanHere a staff writer at ESPN.com’s Grantland; also the editor of Tobacco Road Blues.
  • @lebrownlow Lauren Brownlow is a freelance writer for Fox Sports Carolina covering the Triangle and ACC sports.
  • @thedevilwolf Ben Swain is a co-host of the Walk-Ons podcast and is good for frequent sarcasm and a chuckle.
  • @bretstrelow ACC basketball reporter for the Fayetteville Observer is also a voter for the AP Top 25 Poll.
  • @accmbb The official Twitter account for ACC Men’s Basketball.
  • @DavidTeelatDP an ACC reporter for the Daily Press.
  • @rtcACC Independent voice of college basketball. Pretty much the best site ever.
  • @CBSSportsACC CBS’ ACC coverage, as told by Sean Bielawski and Shawn Krest.
  • @stephenschramm Schramm also writes for the Fayetteville Observer (like Strelow) and covers ACC basketball.
  • @joeovies Ovies is a Triangle radio talk show host for ESPN’s The Fan in Raleigh, with a good track record and insight on ACC sports.
  • @AGoldFan the other half of the Raleigh’s The Fan talk show, Adam Gold is another valid contributor to the ACC sports scene.
  • @CaultonTudor Tudor covers the ACC for Raleigh’s WRAL news.

Feel free to follow these members of the Rush the Court ACC family as well: @rise_and_fire@kellenlc@bradjenk@prohibitivefav.

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Big Ten Morning Five: 03.01.12 Edition

Posted by Ryan Terpstra on March 1st, 2012

  1. This season for Northwestern, heartbreak seems as associated with the team as purple and white.  The school has suffered four losses by two points or less after falling to Ohio State 75-73 last night.  It was a win the Wildcats desperately needed, and down 13 points in the second half, it looked like one they would not get.  But a furious rally, capped by a Alex Marcotullio three-pointer with 7.7 seconds remaining, gave the fans at Welsh-Ryan Arena hope. But then, Jared Sullinger banked in a shot on the other end with 3.3 seconds left, and once again, Northwestern came up a little short.  The Wildcats still have an outside chance at an NCAA tournament berth, but they need to take care of business at Iowa and make some noise in the Big Ten Tournament.  Opponents know that John Shurna and company will be coming into every game from now on with a must-win mentality.
  2. No Buckeye came up bigger in that win against Northwestern than Jared Sullinger, who tallied 22 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks in 37 minutes of play. Most of all, Sullinger has said he won’t worry about the way his play is officiated anymore.  After admitting that Big Ten officials had been on his mind in a loss against Wisconsin, he only picked up three personal fouls against the Wildcats.  He said the lack of mental focus had been affecting his game, and head coach Thad Matta has helped him pull out of that funk.  His re-found aggressiveness couldn’t have come at a better time for Ohio State.
  3. There are more bubble teams than just Northwestern in the Big Ten, and Illinois has a chance to make some noise as they host #13 Michigan tonight.  Bruce Weber’s seat is very hot right now in Champaign, but a late NCAA Tournament push would definitely help his case.  It’s up to Weber to keep hope alive and push the right buttons for his Illini team to keep winning and finish strong enough to merit consideration to the Big Dance.  For motivation, Weber has already played the tape of Illinois overcoming a 15-point defecit in four minutes to beat Arizona in the 2005 NCAA regional that sent his team to the Final Four.
  4. Indiana basketball has experienced a big surge this season under Tom Crean.  The Hoosiers have beaten three top-five teams for the first time since 1975-76, and have beaten the #1 and #2-ranked teams in the same season for the first time in program history.  Among Hoosier fans, the debate can begin: Was beating Kentucky or Michigan State the bigger victory?  Many fans would be quick to say Kentucky, but if you dig deeper into the discussion, the history between IU and MSU makes it a much more interesting argument.
  5. After losing its first game on their home court this season to Purdue last Saturday, Michigan was thought to be on the outside looking in on the Big Ten race.  After Michigan State’s loss to Indiana, though, the Wolverines still have a chance to share the title with their in-state rivals.  While an outright championship is always nice, a chance to share a conference crown is certainly one the Wolverines will embrace. Michigan hasn’t hung a conference championship banner in 26 years, and for a fan base that has bemoaned seeing its banners removed from the rafters, it would be a good feeling to see John Beilein signal the return of Michigan hoops by raising a new one.
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