Northwestern moved to 9-4 on the year with today's 63-42 win over the Brown. The key was a little sloppy at times but playing without not only JerShon Cobb and Drew Crawford but also Reggie Hearn the 'Cats did play a game which they can feel good about going into a 10 day break before facing #2 ranked Michigan after the new year.
The biggest thing NU did well that gives fans hope for the rest of the season was their shooting. NU hadn't really shot well recently but today they finally seemed to find their outside shot as a team. That is critical because NU won't pull off Big Ten upsets without shooting well. Kale Abrahamson made two threes early and I continue to believe that if he takes time to set his feet he could be about a 60% three point shooter. Somehow the NU staff needs to get him to relax and just play the game without rushing. Alex Marcotullio also hit a couple threes which was nice to see. He's a guy who has seemingly always had an impact on the game when he played but hasn't always been able to play thanks to health reasons. Now, he seems like he's back healthy and I expect he'll be able to make good things happen for NU.
They guy I really want to see more of is Tre Demps. He's a little out of control at times, but he looks like NU's best natural scorer. He can hit the three, he can hit the mid range shot, and he can score on a floater in the lane. NU's last guy with that much variety of a game was probably Juice Thompson. I really would like to see Demps on the court for 25-plus minutes as the season continues.
As we look at the Big Ten season I think the obvious question NU has to ask is about health. Nikola Cerina's size would help and he's probably a better shooter than Jared Swopshire (who did make a couple threes today) and NU needs Reggie Hearn's leadership and scoring ability as well as his aggressive rebounding. These ten days off are huge for NU and we can all hope that when NU plays again on Jan. 3 they are healthier than they are now and are ready to compete with Michigan.