there has been a lot of introspection lately from Northwestern fans, so i might as well pile on. (although i really was tempted to simply ride out the rest of the season by writing nothing but updates to my previous post.)
last week Sippin' on Purple
discussed whether NU is underachieving this year. i have to agree with Loretta8 and say absolutely not. this is part of an email i sent to a friend on November 4, 2010:i could definitely see NU beating everyone they should but also not beating anyone they shouldn't. ...end up with a decent W/L record but terrible computer numbers.
that's exactly where we are with one month left in the regular season. the woefully weak nonconference schedule did nothing but kill off NU's at-large chances and artificially inflate the Wildcats' box scores and fans' expectations.
SoP pretty much nailed it regarding the national media stories and defensive problems, but one thing that wasn't touched on was the offense struggling against good teams. i will not pretend to understand or appreciate all the helpful stats
out there as well as others
do, so i'll just take the lazy way out and look at points scored.
i fully recognize that total points don't tell the whole story, but it's hard to ignore the obvious, and the numbers are easy to analyze because bad opponent = win and good opponent = loss. the W/L difference in NU's offense is actually bigger (83ppg vs. 63ppg) than the W/L difference in NU's defense (63ppga vs. 76 ppga).
all of this speaks to NU simply not having the horses to run with the big boys. whether trying to get a score or a stop, the Wildcats are outmanned in all the contests that matter. that's why i was so confused at the consensus reaction to the departure of Kevin Coble
: "NU will be fine ... last year Coble didn't play and NU won more games without him ... Shurna is a better player ... Freundt can replace his points and rebounds." alright, maybe i made up that last one. but the point is this: Northwestern basketball is FAR from having talent to spare.
to me, that's the only thing that will get this thing turned around - better players. sure, it was fun watching NU take the Buckeyes down to the wire. and i've seen at least a few people call for Carmody to return full-time to the style everyone thinks of when they hear Princeton Offense
. but we all know that's not sustainable. the coaches in this conference are paid too much money to be beaten consistently by a gimmick. i'm not saying that the rest of the Big Ten can't be beaten with offensive wrinkles, and i'm not saying the other guys can't be outcoached, but it's hard to do either when NU's players just aren't good enough.