Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Some quick notes....

Update: Word is that the Baylor deal is done and the Bears will be in Evanston on December 4th of this year. Baylor's got at least three future NBA players so this will be a reall good test for NU and good preview of where NU really is in terms of trying to play deep into March.

It seems that according to reports from the NU Coaches’ Caravan that Bill Carmody talked a little bit about what he wanted to do in terms of scheduling. Specifically it seems Carmody mentioned Temple and Baylor. Both of these would to me be good teams to play regularly. Some will say they’re somewhat “faceless” as some said about Stanford, but I think Temple and Baylor actually are probably more prominent to basketball fans, especially in the Midwest, than Stanford. Temple has a very strong history and Baylor has done, for all intents and purposes, what Northwestern wants to do. Take a once moribund program and turn it into something that might just contend for a championship. I also think trips to Philly or Waco, Texas would be a lot better for our players than trips to the west coast. Of course, we shouldn’t get too excited about this news as at one point last year NU thought they would schedule Duke and UCLA and got neither, but at we did get Arkansas-Pine Bluff, so I guess that was something. Nevertheless, this is a good time to point out that NU is trying to schedule good teams, but many good teams don’t want to play Northwestern. That’s why getting into tournaments, like the one NU is in at Charleston, are important because you might draw a team that otherwise wouldn’t play you depending on how the bracket works out.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

NU still pursuing roster addition

Word has come out that Northwestern is in the final three schools being considered by Vanderbilt grad Andre Walker who will have one season left to play at whatever school he enrolls in as a grad student. The Wildcats are up against some big names (Kansas and Xavier) for Walker’s services, but he’s an Illinois native (Homewood-Flossmoor H.S.) and obviously values academics enough to have gone to Vandy in the first place. You also have to consider that with only one year to play, Walker has to look at playing time and NU offers a good chance for him to get on the floor.

Walker’s a 6-7 forward who can shoot from three point range and seems to be a solid rebounder. He’d likely be able to start at the three spot for NU and give the ‘Cats two big forwards who can stretch the defense like they were supposed to have last year before Kevin Coble decided to end his career a year early.

It’s hard to say exactly what will make or break Walker’s grad school decision, but hopefully we’ll see him in purple and white this winter. I think he’d be a huge asset in getting NU to the NCAA Tournament.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

NU Has an Assistant Coach, Chicago Has Big Ten Tournament (Part-Time)

A couple of fun things have happened recently. First, Northwestern is going to name former Rutgers Head Coach Fred Hill as an assistant in the near future. Hill is probably most famous for getting into a shouting match with the University of Pittsburg baseball coach at a RU-Pitt baseball game (He ought to enjoy the Wrigley Field bleachers during his time at NU), but the fact is the guy has a good reputation as a recruiter and could reopen the East Coast to NU as a potential ground to bring in some talent. The odds are Hill won’t stay at NU long if he can find another D1 head coaching gig, but he’s a very good addition to the staff at this point.

In other news, the Big Ten Tournament is back in Chicago in 2013 and 2015. That’s good news for NU fans who want to attend and honestly I think it’s worthwhile for the Big Ten to vary the event’s location. On the other hand, the football title game is locked into Indy until 2015, but as much as I'd like to see that game in Chicago I think the logic is that the title should be played in a location where weather isn't a factor and the best team has the best chance to win.