It’s only been a few hours since Northwestern lost yet another close one, their sixth conference loss this season by five points or less. In that time I’ve already seen a bunch of writers use phrases like “all-too-familiar” and “not again” and “SO CLOSE as usual.”
Uhh, no. While the losing is certainly familiar, I don’t think any reasonable person can say that Northwestern always comes up just short. The lifetime record of NU basketball is 960-1386. Bill Carmody’s Big Ten record is 65-136. A team that has lost 59% of its games and over two-thirds of its recent conference games is not always “SO CLOSE.” Most of the time they just flat out get their ass kicked.
Now, let’s move on to more important matters. I have to admit that after the game I was actually pretty positive (hard to imagine, I’m sure). I figured that was not a win NU needed to have, and they made a game of it after getting dominated early. At this point I’m numb to the rebounding deficiencies, so that didn’t even bother me that much. Despite lots of frustration out there, I was feeling alright.
Then I looked at last night’s scores. Colorado State, South Florida and Cincinnati all took down top 20 teams to nearly lock up spots in the field. Lunardi has NU as the last team in, which basically means we’re out; you have to assume that there will be at least a couple of bid thieves from the OVC, CAA, WCC or any of the major conferences.
You have to figure at this point that NU needs three wins. Iowa certainly is a must on Saturday, and a loss next Thursday would be to a bad team, whoever it turns out to be. A loss in the quarters would leave the ‘Cats with just the January win over Sparty as the only impressive line on its tournament resume. As the bubble shrinks, I don’t believe that one big win will be enough. And this team has shown me nothing to indicate they can win three straight away from Welsh-Ryan Arena.