First-Round Loss Likely Ends NU's Dream

Northwestern missed another chance to boost its postseason credentials, this time, falling to Minnesota in overtime, 75-68. However, this game was the Wildcats' last chance to fight for NCAA Tournament contention, and may have been the dagger in their dream of making history.

Northwestern has seen its fair share of heartbreak this season. Each loss proving to be another missed opportunity for a team seeking a dream; holding out hope.

After the Wildcats' 75-68 overtime loss, there are no more "must-win" games left. The ink is dry on Northwestern's postseason résumé.

NU has never reached the NCAA Tournament in the program's history. The Wildcats had a chance to play their way in, but failed to do so again. Now, their fate is in the hands of the selection committee.

"Hopefully I won't be disappointed on Sunday," said NU senior forward John Shurna, who posted 21 points, but was held scoreless in overtime. "But I guess we'll just have to wait and see."

As head coach Bill Carmody suggested to his team, the selection committee won't judge Northwestern soley based off Thursday's loss, but it serves as a microcosm of the team's season, full of late-game failures.

The Wildcats never led during the overtime period, and their offense continued to scuffle. Their last hope for a win -- and likely, a trip to the tournament -- was spoiled when Jershon Cobb lost control of the ball as 39 ticks of the clock remained in overtime. Cobb posted a career-best 24 points, but his mistake would be costly.

"We still had a chance until the game was over, but (the turnover) hurt," said Cobb. "That was a bad turnover. It hurt the team."

On the ensuing possession, Minnesota's Rodney Williams slammed in an open dunk, giving the Gophers a 73-68 lead with 27 seconds left. That was the dagger.

The Wildcats tried to keep a positive outlook after the loss. John Shurna pointed to the team's resiliency. "When we're down, we're not out," he said after the game.

The reality is, Northwestern has run out of chances to make the NCAA Tournament this season. Resiliency won't make a difference anymore.

When meeting with the media, Bill Carmody had not yet planned what he would say to inspire his team.

"I got a long bus ride home to figure that out," he said.

The waiting has just begun. Selection Sunday is still three days away.

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college football, college basketball and college baseball for Fox Sports & since 2009. He served as a writer for Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics, and is now the Publisher of, covering the Northwestern Wildcats.
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