last week i wrote that the team "needs to focus on forgetting the Iowa debacle and avoiding a collapse down the stretch." uhh, not off to a great start. probably the worst part of the Illinois and Michigan losses is that now the team gets reminders of the early games that got away(Butler, PSU, Purdue). the good vibes from Minnesota and Michigan State feel very distant and now NU just needs to stop the bleeding. i will stop short of calling this slide Clemsonesqe - as in, start 17-0 and play in the NIT - but it certainly instills no confidence going forward.
i don't think facing Ohio State is going to help much. while BJ Mullens hasn't played up to expectations, he still offers a legitimate inside presence. given what Manny Harris did on Sunday, i certainly don't see any reason why the Wildcats will slow down Evan Turner, who at this point is the leading, if underwhelming, candidate for Big Ten POY.
the Buckeyes enter this game with a 3-4 road record featuring wins @ Indiana, Michigan and Miami (although the last should get an asterisk because Jack McClinton was ejected). when Ohio State loses on the road, it's usually because they struggle to score (see: 48 pts @ WVU, 49 pts @ Illinois, 50 pts @ Wisconsin). but the bottom line is that OSU hasn't lost to a team higher than 36 in the RPI, and NU is currently 83. Ohio State has twice lost consecutive games this season, but in each case the second loss was to Michigan State. coming off their miserable performance in Madison last Saturday, i figure the Buckeyes will right the ship against a Northwestern team (and fan base) that is perilously close to imploding.