We all knew that with Northwestern being as young as they are that at some point a huge clunker of a game would occur at some point. I thought it would be against one of the weaker opponents they played because NU would be focused for games like tonight, but I was wrong. Tonight I hope was as bad as NU can play, but it's unfortunate because this was another great résumé game which NU just played awfully in. The good news is that playing in the Big Ten (not to mention Baylor, Butler, and Stanford) will give NU many more chances to boost their resume for a potential tournament bid.
What went wrong tonight? Honestly, mostly the fact NU couldn't free throws or three pointers if they had only struggled in one area they might have had a shot, but they didn't hit either so they got massacred like Custer at Little Big Horn.
Also, NU got creamed on the glass, which wasn't a huge shocker,but I was really disappointed with just how inept Mike Turner and Alex Olah looked. I know they're freshmen, but they were, frankly, terrible. Unless they show a lot of growth I don't envision NU having a lot of success against solid teams. They are both basically walking turnovers who shot when they shouldn't and pass when they should shoot. NU either needs Nikola Cerina back ASAP or once again needs to resort to the small lineup vs good teams because at least that would put complete basketball players on the court when NU really needs it, Turner and Olah can develop against the lesser teams on the schedule.
Still, NU has survived growing pains from the centers in other games. What they can't survive is Drew Crawford hitting just 30% of his shots. I think every NU fan knew that as streaky as Drew was and how missing shots seems to bother him that he as the go to guy was potentially dangerous and right now we see some of that danger. Drew Crawford needs to start letting go of missed shots, focusing in the moment, and playing without concern over past failures or Northwestern's season will include many more of these games because NU must make shots to win and Crawford needs to make the most. Right now he's maybe NU's third best player and that's not because other guys are greatly exceeding their ability.
Oh, and NU's defense wasn't great, but honestly I thought Maryland made some tough shots to get a double digit lead and then was just really comfortable once they had the lead so they made some other crazy shots.
This loss stinks but let's learn from Coach Fitz and focus on what's important now. NU has a big Chicago- land show down with UIC and another resume game with Baylor in the next week. Getting Ws in those games are what's important so let's focus on that.