Next comes another fairly easy opponent — Central Connecticut State — that is 5-4 and coming off a 90-80 loss to Brown. The Cats must take care of business once again in order to gain momentum for next Thursday's game at Creighton.
Northwestern leads the series 1-0, having defeated the Blue Devils 74-54 at home in 2009.
KEY PLAYER FOR THE WILDCATS: David Sobolewski
Sobolewski has been turning heads since the start of the season, starting at point guard for the Cats as a freshman. He has filled in well for Michael "Juice" Thompson — has season's starting point guard — and currently leads the nation in assist-turnover ratio.
This will likely be a fast-paced game — the Blue Devils like to push the ball — so Sobolewski will get good experience making quick decisions and protecting the ball at an increased pace. Having that experience in the Big Ten season will be essential, so this game should be a good time to assess his growth.
KEY FOR THE BLUE DEVILS: Push the ball
Central Connecticut State is a fast-paced team that places an emphasis in three-point shot — it came into the week ranked No. 14 in the country in scoring.
If the Blue Devils are able to control the tempo, they can get into a rhythm and start knocking down big shots outside. Pushing the tempo can also allow them to force turnovers by NU.
KEY TO A WILDCAT WIN: Slow down the game
If the Cats are able to slow down the tempo, they'll be able to keep the Blue Devils from getting into a rhythm and can slow down their offense.
Fast-paced underdogs are able to pull off upsets by getting into a groove and hitting big outside shots — Central Connecticut State's specialty. A fast-paced game also increases the likelihood for turnovers.
If the Cats can slow down the game, they should be able to play sharp and come away with a win.