Northwestern Men's Basketball 2017 NCAA Tournament Capsule


Northwestern Wildcats

Big Ten (23-11, 10-8)

At the end of January Northwestern was 18-4 and many figured there was no possible way the Wildcats could blow it. However, it looked plausible for a while that Northwestern could miss out on their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. There were two losses to Illinois since the end of January, but when the Wildcats won, they got big wins, most notably at Wisconsin and against Michigan in a thriller. And so here we are after so many close calls, Northwestern finally making their first ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Big Wins: 11/28 Wake Forest (65-58), 12/17 vs Dayton (67-64), 2/12 at Wisconsin (66-59)
Bad Losses: 12/30 at Michigan State (52-61), 2/7 Illinois (61-68), 2/25 at Indiana (62-63)
Coach: Chris Collins
Why They Can Surprise:
But this is not Holy Cross. The Wildcats should not be content just to be here. And Coach Chris Collins will have his team prepared to attempt to win a game or two in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats never make it easy for the opposition so this is a team that should be able to stick around with just about anybody. The team commits a mere 10.3 turnovers per game. Much of the credit for that goes to Bryant McIntosh, who averages 14.4 points per game on top of his 5.2 assists. But the rest of the team does a good job of taking care of the ball as well, especially guards Scottie Lindsey and Sanjay Lumpkin. Often when a team is as good as Northwestern in the turnover department, it is because they are a small team. That is not the case here. Lindsey and Lumpkin are 6-5 and 6-6, respectively, on the wing. Vic Law is 6-7 and Derek Pardon is 6-8. It is not a huge frontcourt by any means, but that size and length on the wing, along with Pardon’s shot blocking ability, has turned this into a very good defense.
Why They Can Disappoint:
However, that size does not always equate to good rebounding. Pardon has had an amazing sophomore season and is a beast on the glass. Law is solid on the glass and Lumpkin is a very good rebounding guard, but the team as a whole is often outrebounded. Making shots is often a problem for this group too. There are plenty of potential scorers, but this group often settles for jumpers instead of attacking the basket and taking on any potential shot blockers in the paint. Missing shots and missing out on rebounding opportunities more than makes up for not turning the ball over and sooner rather than later that will catch up with Northwestern. But at least we are talking about Northwestern men’s basketball come tournament time and not just talking about Joe McKeown’s team and looking ahead to football season.
Probable Starters:
Bryant McIntosh, Junior, Guard, 14.4 ppg, 5.2 apg
Scottie Lindsey, Junior, Guard, 14.2 ppg, 2.3 apg
Sanjay Lumpkin, Senior, Guard, 6.1 ppg, 1.4 apg, 5.6 rpg
Vic Law, Sophomore, Forward, 12.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg
Derek Pardon, Sophomore, Center, 8.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.9 bpg
Key Role Players:
Gavin Skelly, Junior, Forward, 6.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.3 bpg
Nathan Taphorn, Senior, Forward, 4.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg
Barret Benson, Freshman, Center, 2.0 ppg, 1.6 rpg
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.4 (224th in nation, 12th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.9 (35, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.1 (245, 11)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.8 (20, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.2 (198, 9)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.7 (241, 12)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.0 (38, 3)
Rebound Margin: 0.5 (178, 11)
Assists Per Game: 15.5 (60, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.3 (9, 2)
Recent Postseason Appearances:
2012    NIT      First Round win over Akron
2012    NIT      Second Round loss to Washington
2011    NIT      First Round win over Milwaukee
2011    NIT      Second Round win over Boston College
2011    NIT      Quarterfinal loss to Washington State
2010    NIT      First Round loss to Rhode Island
2009    NIT      First Round loss to Tulsa
1999    NIT      First Round loss to DePaul
1994    NIT      First Round win over DePaul
1994    NIT      Second Round loss to Xavier
*all team stats through 3/5