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Northwestern Preview

by Chris Mackinder | November 29th, 2007

2006-2007 Record: 13-18 (2-14) T-10th
Postseason Games:

3/8/2007 Michigan State Big Ten Tournament L 62-57

Returning Statistical Leaders:
13.4 ppg – Kevin Coble
5.2 rpg – Kevin Coble
2.0 apg – Craig Moore

Starting Lineup: Key Stat:
C Kevin Coble 6’8 So. Expected to be best Wildcat in history
PF Jeff Ryan 6’6 So. 46.8 FG% last season
SF Sterling Williams 6’4 Jr. Just 3 games with 10+ shots in 3 years
SG Michael Thompson 5’10 Fr. Team-best 15.3 ppg through 4 games
PG Craig Moore 6’4 Jr. Stats through 4 games: 12.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.5 apg

Key Player Losses: Tim Doyle (11.5 ppg, 5.1 apg). Currently, Doyle is known as the best Northwestern player in history. That should say enough about his value.

Impact Newcomer: Michael Thompson. While he’s still a raw talent, Thompson is already averaging a team-high 15.3 ppg this season. Those 5.5 apg aren’t too shabby either.

Tough Question: Will Northwestern finish last in the Big Ten (again)? Each year Penn State and Northwestern battle for Big Ten futility. Penn State seems destined for at least minimal improvement and that leaves Northwestern without a dancing partner. Iowa’s overhauled roster and new coach might help, but the Wildcats might want to win at least three or four Big Ten games to get out of the cellar.

Too Much PT: Nikola Baran. His biggest value is his height (at 6-foot-7 he’s the second tallest Wildcat), but he’ll need to score more than three points each game to justify 15 minutes.

Get Him on the Floor: Jason Okrzesik. He’s a small, scrappy homegrown kid who just seems to get the job done. He won’t dazzle audiences but he can score 10 points a night, which in Wildcat standards is like 18 or 20 for, say, North Carolina.

Point Guard Impact: Because Northwestern uses the Princeton style offense, all five players act as the point guard at various times. That said, the guards–Thompson and Moore–will key the offense.

Final Word: Check out the 5-year win trend for Northwestern: 12-14-15-14-13. In his eighth season, Bill Carmody is still trying to get his Princeton-style offense to work in the Big Ten. The last 7-year blueprint seems to say he should scrap it and start anew. However, since Carmody’s entire offensive system is based around the Princeton-style offense, that is what Northwestern will bring again this year. Northwestern couldn’t beat Brown in non-conference play, so expecting a great season would be asinine. The Wildcats, like usual, will steal a win or two–maybe even three–in conference play, but find themselves left out of both the NCAA Tournament and the NIT.

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