Not sure we can take much away from this game as Fairleigh Dickinson was a pretty weak opponent, but I saw some good things from Northwestern on Sunday. I liked the defense played by NU's regulars. The bench didn't play much defense late in the game, but that's probably a product of the game flow as much as anything else. I also liked the aggressive approach Northwestern showed on the glass. It wasn't as impressive as it would have been versus a team with any size, but it was better than many pervious efforts. I also liked the fact NU found ways to score that were not overly dependent on three point shooting.
Alex Olah is filled with potential as a big man. He wasn't facing real stiff competition today, but I liked many of the moves he showed in the post and he seems to have a high basketball IQ when it comes to decision making with the ball which is a very positive trait and one which many young players do not have. His backup Mike Turner played his best game of the young season as well showing a nice touch on some passes and attacking on offense.
Reggie Hearn continues to be a leader for Northwestern on offense and was the player who got the team stated today. I like that Reggie can shoot and attack the basket off the dribble even better than last year. He's probably NU's best all around player and that's a great story from where he started as a walk-on. Drew Crawford still needs to find that consistency, but he seemed less bothered by misses than in the past which is a huge step forward.
Hopefully NU keeps up this level of defense during the rest of the season, but fans need to know the team will be tested much more significantly on defense over the next couple weeks and I suspect we may see the 1-3-1 in the near future. If that occurs look for Alex Marcotullio, who had a nice game today, to see even more time and Tre Demps, who has struggled with his outside shot, to get less time. Also, the status of Sanjay Lumpkin who is out with mono is worth paying attention too as he fits well into the zone defense concept. NU has to play Delaware State first, but they'll need to bring all their tricks when they face Big 12 competition TCU and potentially a solid mid-major in Illinois State in Texas next weekend.