The Chicago Tribune says John Shurna has a concussion. It doesn’t say that he won’t play Saturday, but if he’s concussed that’s usually something that keeps people out for at least a week. I’m not suspired Shurna has a concussion. When I watched the many many replays the Big Ten Network showed last night I kind of figured that was the case and was shocked when Shurna repapered in the second half. I mean they guy hit a metal basket support and whiplashed on to a hardwood floor. It would have been darn near worthy of a write-up in the New England Journal of Medicine if he didn’t get a concussion. So we’ll see what happens with John this weekend. If he can’t play it probably isn’t the worst thing. The odds are long anyway and it would give his ankle more time to heal.
On another note, people are getting more and more into discussing NU coaching situation. A few people over on Lake the Posts and Wildcatreport.com even threw out names. Why do I mention this, well, this might be something of a defeatist attitude, but I’ve decided the odds are long that any coach will win at Northwestern until some larger institutional changes are made. The fact is basketball is more than football is a game where your talent can win out without great coaching and good coaching will lose to more talented teams. If you have a team with great lights-out shooters who can hit from anywhere and big physical guys who can grab their rebounds when they miss and get put backs and other easy scores, you’re very hard to beat even if you don’t have a genius game plan and while a creative game plan from the other side (a la the Princeton Offense) might upset you from time to time, you’re going to be the team that’s at the top of the standings at the end of the year. On the other hand, in football a lesser talented team can create a game plan with misdirection and a quick pace that actually uses the other team’s better athletic skill against them. In basketball, no way really exists to do this. When big 6-9 250-pounds of solid muscle Trevor Mbakwe decides he wants an offensive rebound over 5-10 Juice Thompson he’s going to get it. There isn’t spread offense of basketball that is going to get Mbakwe exhausted so Juice can grab his rebounds. Basically, I think Bill Carmody’s Northwestern teams will continue from this point forward to be .500 or better overall, but until Northwestern has the facilities and resources that top-50 players see at Duke, Vanderbilt or Georgetown you aren’t going to see NU make a serious run in men’s hoops because the smart kids who can counter the Mbakwe’s of the world won’t be in Evanston. It won’t matter who the coach is and in fact Carmody running the Princeton Offense will give Northwestern a better chance than bringing in someone who thinks he can play teams with Mbakwe’s and Sullinger’s heads-up athletically. The one option that I think would be superior to Carmody’s style would be to play like Dick Bennett’s 2000 Wisconsin team that just plays super physical (basically fouling) defense all night, takes care of the ball, and scores just enough points in their boxing matches, wait, I meant basketball games, to win 52-45 every night.