Northwestern Wildcats (Overall: 23-11, Conf: 10-8)
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The Northwestern Wildcats will be going dancing for the first time in their program history. Sunday’s selection ended a brutal 78-year stretch in which Northwestern did not get invited to the national tournament. Head coach Chris Collins has done a masterful job of transforming this once-beleaguered squad with the Wildcats going 43-23 the past two seasons.
What makes this Northwestern side different from past teams is their athleticism, particularly on the wings. Scottie Lindsey and Vic Law are each averaging more than 12 points and a steal per night this season. Lindsey and Law can switch defensive assignments on the fly and that will be a major weapon for Collins come tourney time. Defense has been Northwestern’s main calling card this season with the Wildcats surrendering just 65.1 points per game this campaign. That’s 34th-fewest in the entire nation. The Wildcats are pegged at +20,000 to win this year’s national tournament.
The Wildcats eat opponents alive on defense, but they sometimes get swallowed on the opposite end of the floor. Northwestern is 231st in the nation in scoring, averaging just 71.1 points per game this season. Other than Bryant McIntosh, Lindsey and Law, there are no other players scoring in double figures for the Wildcats. This was brutally exposed in Northwestern’s humiliating 76-48 loss to Wisconsin in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament.
|Points Per Game||71.1||231|
|Rebounds Per Game||36.2||153|
|Assists Per Game||15.3||65|
|Free Throw Percentage||75.1||36|
Northwestern (+20,000) wins its first-ever game in the NCAA Tournament but eventually exits in the second round.
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