#76 Northwestern Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

Northwestern Wildcats
2021-2022 Overall Rank: #76
Conference Rank: #10 Big Ten
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Following a 6-1 start to the season that included wins over Michigan State, Indiana and Ohio State, Northwestern lost 13 games in a row. Of course, the Big Ten was very, very tough in 2020-2021, but that was a rough stretch of games. Northwestern did manage to win their last three regular season games against slightly easier competition, so now Coach Chris Collins will look to make some momentum from those three victories and carry it into 2021-2022.
2020-21 Record: 9-15, 6-13
2020-21 Postseason: None
Coach: Chris Collins
Coach Record: 118-134 at Northwestern, 118-134 overall
Key Departed Players:
Miller Kopp, Forward, 11.3 ppg
Anthony Gaines, Guard, 3.9 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Chase Audige, Junior, Guard, 12.3 ppg
Pete Nance, Senior, Forward, 11.1 ppg
Boo Buie, Junior, Guard, 10.3 ppg
Robbie Beran, Junior, Forward, 5.7 ppg
Ryan Young, Junior, Center, 7.8 ppg
Ty Berry, Sophomore, Guard, 5.1 ppg
Ryan Greer, Senior, Guard, 2.7 ppg
Matthew Nicholson, Sophomore, Center, 1.0 ppg
Key New Players:
Brooks Barnhizer, Freshman, Guard
Julian Roper II, Freshman, Guard
Casey Simons, Freshman, Guard
Elyjah Williams, Senior, Forward, Transfer from Fairleigh Dickinson
Northwestern returns four starters and six of their top seven scorers from a season ago. That experience will pay off. Chase Audige led the Wildcats with 12.3 points and 1.5 steals per game. The William & Mary transfer stepped right into a starting job and played quite well. Boo Buie will again run the point after averaging 10.3 points and 4.0 assists. Both are good outside shooters and sophomore Ty Berry can add another shooting threat off the bench. Pete Nance can hit some long balls too, but the 6-10 senior does most of his scoring in the paint. He also led the team in rebounds and blocked shots. Robbie Beran is another big guy who can shoot and Ryan Young is the more traditional big man who will eat up space in the paint. For the better part of three seasons, Elyjah Williams was a starter at Fairleigh Dickinson where he averaged 13.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals last season. Incoming freshman Case Simmons is expected to make an impact this season as well. That should give Coach Collins some decent depth, but the Big Ten is going to be very tough again and that will keep this group from reaching the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.2 (199th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 70.0 (170, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.3 (210, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.8 (149, 12)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.3 (75, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.3 (101, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.8 (143, 7)
Rebound Margin: -2.2 (254, 12)
Assists Per Game: 14.7 (74, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.8 (76, 9)
Madness 2021 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#106 Casey Simmons
#143 Julian Roper
#152 Brooks Barnhizer