Fired Bill Carmody: Take care of SMU, then things get ugly

Monday, December 22, 2008

Take care of SMU, then things get ugly

FBC is going on vacation, so we need to cover the next few games today. tomorrow night Matt Doherty brings the SMU Mustangs to Welsh-Ryan. yes, everyone remembers him for getting run out of Carolina but it is worth noting that he turned around Notre Dame before Mike Brey took over and was AP National Coach of the Year at UNC in 2001. regardless, this SMU team is not good and should be a team that NU handles without too much difficulty. if NU wins tomorrow and against Chicago State in February, they finish the non-conference at 9-2.

Northwestern should have no problem getting into the NIT if they finish 16-14. assuming a loss in the conference tournament, that means finishing 7-11 in the Big Ten. i just don't see any way that can happen. i'm not crazy about looking ahead at the schedule and projecting wins, but if you give them a victory @ Penn State plus sweeps of Indiana and Iowa, that's only 5. and while i'm basing those wins on the quality of those teams, there is nothing in NU's recent history to suggest they'll win all three of those games on the road. Northwestern hasn't won in State College since 2002 and not @ IU since 1968, including NEVER in Assembly Hall.

besides those three teams, there is no one else in the conference Northwestern should beat. even if they sneak in a home win against Illinois, Michigan or Wisconsin, i don't see them getting to 7 conference wins. the 03/04 NU team that finished at .500 in the conference took advantage of a weak league that year. that season, only Illinois and Wisconsin got to 20 wins, and 5 teams finished with a losing record. right now, only Indiana is below a .750 winning %. all those numbers add up to a disheartening prospect - the 'cats have to wait until IU at home on January 28 for their first win of 2009, by which time that early season enthusiasm has transformed into a team just trying to stay out of the Big Ten basement. again.


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