The Pope is resigning for the first time in almost 600 years on Thursday and it seems about that long since Northwestern last beat Ohio State, but they’ve been amazingly close over the last few years. The last three games in Evanston (which actually do include NU’s 2009 win) have been decided in the final four seconds. Does that mean this game will be that close? I kind of doubt it, but I remain ever hopeful. Perhaps February 28, 2013 will be an historic day for several reasons. Some think the resignation of the Pope is a herald of the apocalypse, but I think a more accurate herald of the end of the world might be NU winning this game. So let’s go Catpocalypse!
NU, which has lost their last three games by 20-plus points and not scored more than 43 points in that stretch, will face an Ohio State team which features the Big Ten’s best scorer in DeShuan Thomas. The Buckeyes will also bring the Big Ten’s best defensive guard to Evanston in Aaron Craft. That means an NU team that can’t score will have to find a way to outscore Thomas and to score against Craft. The odds of both happening aren’t good.
The Buckeyes also will likely control the glass with the athletic skill of Chicago-product Sam Thompson and Zion-Benton native Lenzell Smith, Jr. Both players are very athletic and will be a major challenge for NU to defend both one-on-one but also when the ball goes off the rim for a rebound opportunity.
What can Northwestern do? Play fearless. It doesn’t matter what happens at this point if you’re Northwestern. The odds are you’re going nowhere as a team and your coach is probably going to be fired as long as the athletic director gets some indication from his chosen candidates that they’ve got some interest in the job. Of course, they may not and I don’t blame them. Besides, I think Bill Carmody probably deserves another year even if Jim Phillips (and many fans) don’t want to see it happen. Regardless, NU needs to play like it doesn’t matter what they do. Not an easy task for an athlete, but NU’s effort recently has been that of a team which is too scared and timid to be competitive. They look worried. Probably that they’ll cost the coach his job. At this point they’ve probably already done that so they might as well just play loose and aggressive and have some fun. Something that it seems clear NU hasn’t had for a very long time. It hasn’t been that long, but it seems about 600 years.
Prediction: I'd like to say I see Catpocalypse 2013 in our future, but I think OSU wins this game by 20-plus points 75-52.