The Matchup: Chicago State (12-11) @ Northwestern (12-7)
Location: Welsh-Ryan Arena (Evanston, IL)
On-line video: www.bigtenetwork.com (7:00 PM CT)
Radio: WGN 720 AM and WNUR 89.3FM
Fun Fact: Northwestern leads the all-time series against Chicago State 7-0
About the Game
Though people probably aren’t beating down the doors of the Welsh-Ryan Arena ticket office in an effort to purchase seats for this contest, the fact is this should be an entertaining game. Chicago State averages 82.9 points per game, led by David Holston’s 26.3 ppg, third most in the country. The Cougar offense also features guard John Cantrell who averages 18.7 ppg and 5.1 rebounds per game. The leading rebounder on the Cougar squad is Carl Montgomery who averages 7.6 rebounds per game to go along with 10.8 points per game. These numbers are very impressive, but the Cougar defense leaves a lot to be desired. On average, they allow 80.8 points per game. Obviously, this is somewhat skewed by the frantic pace at which they play, not to mention their four overtime contest against Utah Valley State, but they still allow a lot points. Also, the fact they allow opponents to shoot 37.8% from three point range contributes to the number of points their opponents score. The good news is they shoot 34.4% which isn’t bad. However, given Northwestern’s 39.6% three point shooting, NU should be able to gain in advantage in this area.
One area where NU might not have as much of an advantage is rebounding. Although Chicago State’s tallest starter is 6-7, they average 38.5 rebounds per game, compared to Northwestern’s 28.4. These seemingly divergent numbers could be a result of competition, but I don’t think Chicago State’s athletic skill should be discounted. Northwestern’s young big men need to come ready to play against Chicago State. If they do, I expect Kyle Rowley and Luka Mirkovic to be able to take advantage of their increasing array of post moves in order to score inside. Look for those running hook shots both seem to be getting more comfortable with. Also, check out Kyle Rowley from the free throw line. I expect he will improve greatly from his performance against Wisconsin.
Northwestern should win this game fairly easily. If they do lose, it will be the first really bad loss NU has this year. I don’t expect that to happen. However, I do expect David Holston and his teammates to make the game somewhat closer than many folks expect. I strongly encourage all the NU fans, especially the students, who came out for the Wisconsin game to return. If Welsh-Ryan is nearly empty, it will be discouraging to the players and the game might be much closer than needed. Remember, the Wildcats are YOUR team, just because it’s not a name opponent doesn’t mean you shouldn’t show up. Northwestern, 78 Chicago State, 68