I was right the first time. This isn’t an NCAA team. They can’t rebound and their gimmick 1-3-1 defense finally blew up in their face in overtime the way I thought it would. Honestly, this is ridiculous. I know people out their love Bill Carmody and I’ll admit in many ways what Carmody has done this year has been amazing in the way he’s gotten the team to compete versus superior talent with no center and a former walk-on as a starter, however, at this point, I’m so sick of the way Northwestern approaches rebounding and defense I’m ready for another coach because after 12 years we know we’re still going to have to sit through these types of losses unless somebody shows up and teaches our players to rebound and play man-to-man defense because Bill Carmody sure won’t and I defy anybody to state otherwise. The worst part of this whole thing is I’m starting to think in some ways making the tournament would be the worst case scenario because we still won’t rebound or play defense and then people will start to think that’s okay. Guess what in the game of basketball not rebounding or playing man-to-man defense is NOT OKAY! Just please don’t let Phillips hire Bruce Weber who has managed to supervise one of the biggest collapses in Big Ten history (you know Illinois was in first place at 5-1 in early February) or Chris Collins whose never been a head coach and who hasn’t been anywhere except Duke and who people only like because he played for Duke. Bill Foster coached Duke to the Final Four. How’d that hire work out for Northwestern? I thought so. Hell, if you want a guy from the state of Illinois who hasn’t been a head coach hire Jerrance Howard at least he’s been in the state of Illinois to recruit more than one player in the last 15 years. Plus, it would drive all the U of I fans nuts to see Jerrance running the show in Evanston.
I guess the only positive here is that Northwestern should get a really high NIT seed. Of course, I’m not sure after all the NCAA hype that it’ll matter to NU’s players, but at least I hope they’ll take some pride in their efforts and play hard. I’m let’s been honest, they’re still the Northwestern basketball team. They aren’t too good for the NIT.
This game was the most physical game I’ve seen this year in the Big Ten and I just don’t think Northwestern responded to Michigan’s physical effort other than a really nice game by Davide Curletti. John Shurna clearly looked like he didn’t have anything left late for the second time in three games and JerShon Cobb left his shots short all night looking like he simply isn’t in basketball shape yet. Perhaps, with Cobb getting in better shape Northwestern might have a shot at Michigan if the play in the Big Ten Tournament, after all, they lost in overtime twice to the Wolverines who are ranked in the top-15 in the nation. The problem is that at this point the Big Ten Tournament might be the best hope Northwestern has for an NCAA bid.
The fact is that this game was won by Michigan in a lot of ways and their physical presence is one of the biggest reasons, but I still place this on defense and rebounding. Statistically it looks like Northwestern wasn’t terrible in those areas, but Michigan made huge plays on offensive rebounds which turned the game on several occasions. Even worse, Northwestern still can’t play man-to-man defense for any length of time. That’s a problem and I it doesn’t seem any chance exists to correct it.
I guess my problem with Bill Carmody is that he doesn’t seem to be able to self-evaluate. If your team hasn’t played man-to-man defense or rebounded for 12 years don’t you think you’d try to something about that? Those are major areas of basketball! I know I would. Carmody apparently is too stubborn to do so and his team might luck out and make the tournament if they shoot well down the stretch, but if they shoot like they shot tonight making only three three point shots for less than 20% for the game that isn’t going to happen.