Fired Bill Carmody: December 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

NU lets another one get away

this was last season ALL. OVER. AGAIN. NU three-points and backdoors their way to a lead but cannot close the deal.

NU jumped out to a nice start and then held the lead for a 12 minute stretch from late first half into the second half. Illinois regained the lead with about 11 minutes left on the second of back-to-back threes from Brandon Paul.

in a crucial possession down the stretch, NU had nothing. coming out of a 30 second timeout with about four minutes left, Juice threw up a jumper at the shot clock buzzer.

i'm on board with Shurna taking a 3 for the win at the end of regulation, especially since NU shot 32% from 2PT vs 34% from 3PT. thank god Rowley wasn't in the game at that point, so we could actually make a put-back layup after getting a rebound.

i thought Marcotullio (and Crawford, to a lesser extent) acquitted himself well in his first trip to a hostile environment. Nash stepped up on the offensive end and finished with 16 points, although almost all were in the first half. i have no idea why Mirkovic is taking 13 shots, 4 of them from behind the arc.

as some have already pointed out, if NU let's Mike Tisdale run all over them, what will happen when they face a legitimately good big man? that was a disappointing loss, especially with Sparty coming to the town on Saturday.

Joe Lunardi not feelin' the Wildcats

NORTHWESTERN: We'll know sooner rather than later if the Wildcats can erase their dubious status as the only BCS-member school without an NCAA tournament appearance. A 10-1 start has gotten Northwestern ranked in the AP poll, but conference openers at Illinois (tonight) and Michigan State (Saturday at home) will surely tell a tale.

If the Wildcats gain a split, they move up from a No. 69 mid-December S-Curve slot and into the Jan. 4 bracket. Otherwise it's back to the bubble and a week-to-week waiting game all the way to March. My hunch is that the injuries and personnel losses catch up to Northwestern in Big Ten play, but, heck, that's why they play the games.

NCAA ODDS: 35 percent


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The REAL season begins Wednesday

the slurping of Northwestern basketball is in full effect. andy katz is mentioning them every chance he gets, and now USA Today is jumping on board the bandwagon.

not surprisingly, i'm going to wait a little longer before declaring this season a success. specifically, i want to see NU's record on January 31. i will posit that between now and then, the Wildcats could very reasonably go from 10-1 to 11-10.

take a good look at the schedule. it's back-loaded with the weaker teams. i'm excited about six games against PSU, IU and Iowa, but we have to wait until February 7 for the first of those. although Michigan and Illinois are struggling a bit right now, the Wildcats still have to go on the road for both of those early matchups.

on the plus side, Illinois's second-best win (after the stirring comeback at Clemson) is only a home win against so-so Vanderbilt. and they have some bad losses, including Utah and Bradley back-to-back in Las Vegas last month. however, Northwestern has struggled mightily in Champaign for the last decade; they haven't won there since the 1999 NIT season. they've averaged less than 50 ppg since then, and they scored only 37 in each of the last two trips to U of I's building.

at Christmas last year Northwestern had two losses, one road win, and had defeated teams with an average RPI of 220. right now NU has one loss, one road win, and has defeated teams with an average RPI of 180. last year's team started off the Big Ten season 0-4. while it's just one of 18 conference games, tomorrow night's result will go a long way in determining the fate of this season.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Believe it: NU is ranked

i actually thought it would take a win over Illinois (and a close loss to MSU) to get this done, but the Wildcats are ranked at 10-1.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

'Cats survive against Stanford

i won't bother with a detailed recap since travel prevented me from watching the game, but obviously it was a big W, especially after nearly choking away a 10-point lead in the final few minutes. that's a nice step forward from the late game collapses we watched against Illinois and Purdue last season. the CCSU Blue Devils come to down on Tuesday before the conference season begins.

i don't think anyone thought the 'cats would be 9-1 at this point in the season, perhaps even WITH Kevin Coble. we'll take a close look at the big ten schedule before the Illinois game next Wednesday.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Stanford tomorrow

the Cardinal limps into Evanston with a 5-4 record. thus far Johnny Dawkins has done a commendable job of following his fellow Duke assistants-turned-HCs by leading what was a pretty decent program into a nosedive. Stanford's best game this year was an eight-point loss at Kentucky. they have a couple of solid 3PT shooters who have the potential to break up NU's zone, but overall this team does not have a lot of talent. it would be a disappointing loss if the Wildcats can't take care of business at home.

bonus points for whoever brings the most creative (read: offensive) Tiger Woods sign to the game.


here is a thorough article about NU's season with some interesting analysis, although it's a little too optimistic for FBC's liking.

i found stretches of this article to be exceedingly annoying, but i'm sharing it anyway. i'm not going to take the time to figure out if his list is correct, but no glaring omissions came to mind. the appalling lack of talent on the second team is laughable, and i can't even prove that those AREN'T the among the ten best players BC has ever had. Tavaras Hardy turned out to be the best player of the second five, and he shouldn't even count since Carmody didn't recruit him.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Big Ten expansion

there has been a lot of talk this week about the possible addition of a 12th team to the conference. there have been rumors out there for years about Missouri moving to the Big Ten, a move that would then trigger Texas and Colorado joining the Pac 10. the idea is that Missouri fits in culturally and geographically with the Big Ten while UT and CU are a better match academically with the likes of Berkeley, Stanford and Washington than they are with Nebraska, Kansas State and Texas Tech.

other possibilities for the Big Ten are Pitt, Cincinnati, and Notre Dame. to be honest, i don't think the specifics of any potential addition are all that relevant to NU basketball, since whatever school is added will have a superior hoops program and only serve to push us down another notch towards the conference basement.

what i haven't yet seen are any suggestions on how the Big Ten would create the divisions. i assume Michigan and Ohio State would have to be together to make sure they play annually in football. i also assume that the conference would go with some sort of geographic split. here are two possibilities (assuming Missouri is the new team):

East - IU, MSU, OSU, PSU, Purdue, UM
West - NU, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Mizzou, Wisconsin

North - MSU, NU, PSU, UM, Minnesota, Wisconsin
South - IU, OSU, Purdue, Illinois, Iowa, Mizzou

the other option would be to follow the ACC's model and arbitrarily separate the teams into divisions without factoring in geography.

if the Big Ten were to add another team, it probably makes sense to go back to a 16 game conference schedule. each team would play home-and-home with the other five schools in its division plus one game (three at home) with each of the six teams in the other division. that keeps the math nice and easy and allows for even rotation of the schedule between seasons.

NU dominates the Ospreys

a 15-2 run late in the first half put the game away, and you knew it was NU's night when early in the second half Shurna threw in an under-handed flip while being fouled. i liked 14/28 from 3PT, i liked 12 offensive rebounds, i liked six guys in double figures. i did not like anything Kyle Rowley attempted (and failed) to do, and i did not like only 18 minutes from Capocci, Fruendt and Reggie Hearn. when you're up by 22 with 13 minutes left, the big dogs need to get more rest.

i was also confused by the NU slurpfest conducted by the announcers, including former Badger Mike Kelley (who apparently works for ESPN to supplement his residual checks from that time he played Rodney Dangerfield's son). the constant patting of Carmody's back even included this gem: "coming off a terrific year last season... tied for ninth in the Big Ten." never mind the fact that they actually finished alone in ninth place, this gets to the heart of my problem with Northwestern basketball. they've been so bad for so long that any season that's not god-awful is deemed "terrific."

enthusiasm among the fan base is pretty high, but to me this season has an awfully similar feel to last year: they've beat up on a bunch of bad teams and lost to Butler. the Stanford game is an opportunity to change the tone a little bit but in name only. the Cardinal have not been impressive this year and there's no question this would be a bad loss. speaking of the Pac-10, it has a chance to be historically bad this season. it breaks FBC's heart that AC's Craig Robinson argument is losing a little steam this year.

Northwestern in 2nd place

conference standings as of today - i had to capture this. let's revisit this on the last day of January.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Outback Bowl preview - basketball edition

this year's bowl-related post doesn't have as much detail as last year, primarily because NU changed the online format of its media guide which makes things a little more difficult to navigate. there also isn't a lot of history with Northwestern basketball and the SEC, but here we go:

  • Northwestern and Auburn have never faced each other in basketball.
  • Overall NU is 8-14 against the SEC, but the most recent meeting was way back in December 1992. NU lost by 20 at Vanderbilt.
  • NU has a victory over the University of Tampa; the Wildcats have never played the University of South Florida.
  • Under Bill Carmody the team has played only once in the state of Florida, a 71-53 loss at Florida State in December 2003.
obviously the big win on Sunday served as Drew Crawford's coming out party, while Kyle Rowley continues to be utterly useless (5 fouls in 8 minutes). tomorrow the last-place team from the Atlantic Sun comes to town. let's hope that this is an easier win than the last time North Florida was in Evanston. (ahh, i remember those days at FBC. back when i only had two regular readers instead of the eight or nine now.)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Third straight win over a previously undefeated BCS team

i will be the first to say i thought there was no effing way this team would start 6-1 after losing Coble. i honestly don't think anyone thought that would happen, especially after watching NU struggle against Butler and TSU.

now we get to see if the Northwestern schedule delivers the wins it was designed to bring. following a break for final exams, NU finishes off 2009 with four non-conference home games against teams who are currently 9-15. it will be very important that this team "wins the games it is supposed to win." it's probably true that expectations are now higher than they were a few weeks ago, but not quite back to where they were before losing Coble and Ryan.

obviously we'll take a road win any time, but NC State was projected to be, is, and will be terrible this season. the Wildcats took care of business against a lesser team, and that's what they need to do in their next four games.