Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wildcats need to get more Physical and Less Selfish to Win in Big Ten

Northwestern lost to Ohio State and that’s fine. But what wasn’t fine was some of the play Northwestern put forward in that loss. The Big Ten is a physical league and to let a team just push you around is never a good idea. Sure, Ohio State is stronger than Northwestern, but the number of times Northwestern players just stood flat footed and thought they’d get a rebound just because they were on the weak side was pathetic. If Northwestern doesn’t get more aggressive going to the glass I don’t expect a lot of success for the Wildcats over the course of this season. Luka Mirkovic might not be a great athlete, but he’s 6-11 and that will make him the biggest player on the court more often than not. Even last night he was actually taller than the players Ohio State started on the front line. Yet, Luka doesn’t get aggressive enough to let his height work for him. He needs to play like he’s 6-11 and not 6-1. The rest of the Wildcats are equally as guilty of just going through the motions and not capitalizing on the skills they have when it comes to rebounding and defense.

Perhaps even worse than the rebounding issue was the selfish play some of NU’s players demonstrated last year. The Princeton Offense is a team concept which should allow players to get open shots by passing the ball well until the best shot opens up. However, last night a number of Wildcat players tried to go off on one on one moves and it simply didn’t work. The must guilty was Drew Crawford. Crawford has for 2.5 years looked to me like the type of player whose success if very much determined on what happens early in a game. If he hits his first couple shots he can be great, but if he does not he tends to start to force shots because he thinks he should score. Last night he seemed like he felt the need to score points and starting taking some of the dumbest shots I’ve ever seen from a Northwestern player.

Along the same lines, JerShon Cobb is starting to remind me of the guy you desperately want to avoid having on your team in a pickup game. It seems like as soon as Cobb gets into the game he’s going to try and make some type of move to score. Sadly, it seems like more often than not that shot ends up as a brick. That’s not a surprise when you consider he’s only shot over 50% in one game this season. Until he starts making shots more regularly Cobb needs to be more willing to be part of the offense and just try to make one on one moves.

I could go on with other examples of NU’s selfish play last night. For example, John Shurna needs to shoot, I think we all know that, but he too put up some really questionable shots last night. Anyhow, I think I’m done talking about this for now. Wildcat Nation should focus on Saturday’s bowl game at this point and worry about basketball after that. If the ‘Cats win in Texas at least one long and unfortunate streak will be put to rest this week.

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