Wow! A 42-point win for the Wildcats. Even if Central Arkansas isn't exactly a powerhouse you still have to be pleased with the dramatic improvement over where the team appeared to be last week when they lost to Robert Morris College. What I liked more than anything was the speed with which the 'Cats ran their offense. They didn’t rush shots, but they also didn’t stand around and wait for Craig Moore to shoot a fade-away three with three seconds on the shot clock. In short, a lot of the tentativeness and uncertainty that was on display vs RMC seemed to disappear today. Now, granted RMC is probably better than UCA, but I still like the clear improvement that Northwestern showed. I especially liked what I saw from several key players who I’ll talk about below.
The undisputed leader of this Wildcat team. I loved the fact he showed great aggressiveness early when others were struggling and how he took advantage what was a pretty clear mismatch. Also, one of the criticisms of Coble has been his defense, but today he got three steals. It will be great to have him around the whole year.
Ryan could be the best player NU has other than Coble if he can get his confidence up. Today’s performance should help in that area. Except for missing a layup on his first shot today, whenever Jeff got near the hoop he either scored or drew a foul. Also, for those long time followers of Jeff Ryan the fact he made 6-of-7 free throws is a great sign.
This guy has loads of potential. He has pretty good athletic skill with the ability to catch and shoot and is aggressive going for rebounds. I loved the fact he hustled after the ball with 2 seconds left in the game after UCA missed a shot. Overall, I think he just needs to become more comfortable on the court. He turned the ball over twice by stepping out of bounds and a couple other times he seemed to be unsure with the ball.
The Rest of the Freshman Class
Cureltti played 16 minutes, Shurna 13, and Fruendt 5. What was great was the fact they all seemed to show aggressiveness and good understanding of the offense. Curletti and Shurna both hit threes and Fruendt had a nice drive at the end of the game. The fact that both big guys hit from downtown is fantastic as it opens up the middle for potential cuts. Also, I think if big guys try to guard Shurna around the perimeter he’ll go right around them.
I think this guy wants to get back into the starting lineup. He came into the game and threw three great passes (2 assists and one where Capocci got fouled) and scored seven quick points. Coach Carmody seemed ticked that Ivan scored with 12 seconds left, but I like the fact he looked aggressive and I think if he can get into the rotation at forward and center it will only make the ‘Cats better.
Stat of the Game
Central Arkansas 3-for-15
In the past NU allowed many players to have career days shooting from behind the arc. Today, it seemed the ‘Cats put extra emphasis on contesting shots. I hope this stays true next week against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. One interesting note I’ll discuss before that game is that Texas A&M-Corpus Christi features a roster with 5 Chicago area players. The Islanders will no doubt have decent fan support at Welsh-Ryan so I hope a few more NU students show up.