Looking at Northwestern

The NIT is reaching the second round, and the Huskies get to play once again within the safe confines of Hec Ed. After sloppily taking care of the University of Texas-Arlington the Dawgs will look to step up their game if they want to top this fourth-seeded Northwestern team that missed the NCAA Tournament in a similar predicament to the Huskies.

Northwestern was looking at possibly obtaining an at-large bid into the Big Dance with a strong showing in the Big Ten Tournament. Instead they fell flat on their face and lost to a reeling (lost last six of seven) Minnesota team in the first round. Instead of being one of the last teams to make it in Northwestern was one of the first several teams to miss.

Northwestern is coming off of a close 76-74 victory against Akron at home in the first round of the NIT. They came a last-second missed three point attempt away from falling to the Zips. In that game almost all of their scoring came from three players: John Shurna with 23, Drew Crawford with 27 and JerShon Cobb with 19.

The scoring on Northwestern is not very balanced, with Shurna and Cobb combining for over 36 points per game, over half of the scoring load. The Wildcats are an efficient offensive squad, 30th in the nation in points scored per possession (32nd in offensive efficiency). The pace played in their games does not lend itself to high scoring affairs, as they are 305th in the nation in possessions per 40 minutes. A slow yet efficient offensive attack.

The Wildcats are lethal from distance, with almost 40% of their points coming from behind the arc (38.7%, 8th nationally). If the Huskies are to tame the Wildcats, it will start by defending the perimeter with tenacity. Once threes start falling, watch out, the game could get out of hand quickly.

Leading Northwestern is the aforementioned Senior forward John Shurna. He is the team leader in points (20), rebounds (5.4) and blocks (1.7). He shoots threes at a blistering 43% clip, and shoots almost one-third of the team's attempts from deep. Mr. Darnell Gant will likely draw this assignment, and it will not be an easy one.

Projected starters:

Washington Northwestern
G – Abdul Gaddy G – Dave Sobolewski
G – Tony Wroten G – Reggie Hearn
G – Terrence Ross G – JerShon Cobb
F – Darnell Gant G/F – Drew Crawford
C – Aziz N´Diaye F – John Shurna
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