For what tonight was I thought we saw a lot of good things from Northwestern. Remember, Coach Carmody probably wasn't playing anything like his normal rotation and that has to make an impact on the way things work. Plus, with nine new players on the roster (most of who played) you can't expect a perfect day the first time out in a real game. Still, NU won but left with lots to work on.
To me three big areas exist to work on. The first is that Chicago still managed to grab a lot of offensive rebounds despite NU's increase in height. Now, in someways it can be tougher to block out a quick 6-6 guy if you're 7 feet tall 270 plus pounds, but we can all agree we want NU doing better on the glass than they did tonight.
The second area of concern was free throw shooting. NU lost some early Big Ten games last year (most notably Illinois and Michigan) because they didn't shoot we'll at the charity strip. This team needs to improve in that area, especially because it looks like with their increased size that they'll get there somewhat regularly.
The final area where I'd like to see NU be more consistent is three point shooting. Tre Demps was on fire tonight but beyond that NU tossed a lot of bricks out there. I'm sure we'll see better nights from guys like Crawford and Sobolewski because we've seen them do it before, but the Wildcats need consistent three point games from those guys and guys like Jared Swopshire to compete in the Big Ten. I did like that Alex Olah hit a three and that Nikola Cerina seems to have a nice jump shot as well.
Aside from Demps, who to me was the most impressive player, and Crawford who was solid in limited time, I was most pleased with Olah. He wasn't facing great competition but he put the ball in the basket a variety of ways and looks more like a B1G center than many of NU's past centers did from day one. I also like that Cerina seems to have an outside game which he can use to help open up the inside.
I suspect we'll probably see less of guys like Ajou, Abrahamson, and James Montgomery III when we get into regular season games, but it was good to see those guys get time and I think they all learned a bit tonight.
What did everyone else think?