Another conference road game slips away
with three NU airballs to start the second half, the situation looked bleak as Minnesota stretched the lead to 13. but a string of Gopher turnovers practically mandated that the Wildcats make the game interesting. NU actually led by one briefly before Hoffarber's two daggers put the game away.
while Minnesota's bench only contributed 11 points, its 71 combined minutes was a noticable contribution to the win. meanwhile, Northwestern reserves were on the floor for 19 mostly useless minutes. if Nick Fruendt hadn't thought about transferring before today, i'm guessing the thought will now cross his mind.
this lack of depth really worries me. i feel like it's been looming as a potential problem for a few weeks, but i was hoping that if we didn't really talk about it, it might just somehow fix itself. but as we head into the last month of the regular season, i have serious concerns about the starters wearing down. Juice is perhaps the only player who has previously logged this many minutes, and you have to figure that Crawford will hit the freshman wall at some point.
in an interview with Andy Katz on December 22, Carmody talked about the difference between this year's team and the last few seasons. (i went back and listened to it again so i could get the quote exactly right) "...I think we're a little deeper, much deeper. So our eighth/ninth man is very capable, and there isn't that big a drop-off from the eighth or ninth man to our fourth and fifth guys."
really? you think that there isn't a measurable difference between Nick Fruendt/Mike Capocci and Crawford or Mirkovic or Nash? i mean, Marcotullio left his 3PT shot in December and often seems clueless, but i'd absolutely rather have him on the court instead of NF or MC. i realize Carmody made that statement coming off blowout wins over NCA&T and UNF, but even then he had to know that he wasn't going to get much out of those guys and Rowley.
next up is a trip to East Lansing, the site of arguably NU's most impressive win of the last 15 years. Sparty should have lost last night in Crisler Arena. John Beilein drew up a brilliant play for the last shot, but a missed layup kept MSU perfect in the conference. i don't know if they'll finish that way, but i don't expect the Spartans to lose on Saturday.