Random Thoughts: The "Loss" and the Future

Coach Roy was pretty upset when the Northwestern Wildcats lost to Penn State yesterday. It took him until this morning to calm down enough to write about what he saw -- a lot of things he didn't like, but also a few things that might bode well at Northwestern for the future...

Vedran leaving with a towel over his head...
was my signature moment in Thursday's loss to Penn State.

At least we got to shoot a few free throws this time, but some of the so called fouls whistled on the Wildcats were pretty lame. Maybe the Big 10 refs felt sorry for those poor little kids from State College. [Like this "intentional foul" by Vedran?]

AP-Michael Conroy And maybe our "size advantage" works against us in games with smaller players. PSU's guys do hit the boards hard and TV can't show all the inside game where so many calls are made, but its like there's been a conference directive on the bulletin board of the ref's locker room all season saying they should protect the poor little Lions inside.

What also ticked me off was NU Alum Brent Musburger's constant shilling for State Penn to be given an NCAA berth, or an NIT Berth, or be crowned kings of the world in both Basketball and Football.

What Ed DeChellis has accomplished in two years is phenomenal, but even most minor conference teams have someone who can [and will] answer Geary Claxton and Ben Luber shot for shot, plus box out to cut down on rebounds.
The Penn State guys are already saying "Bring on the Bucks"
Too bad, the Buckeyes have already shown they can stomp the Lions in to oblivion.

The good matchup, and one that we'll not see this year, would have been the 3rd game between NU and OSU.

With the Buckeye's looking ahead to the next round, and NU's ability to slow down their outside shooters, it could have been the game of the week.

Now ESPN fans will be treated to Brent making excuses for the "valiant" PSU team's loss to the Big Bad Buckeyes, although he'll probably be so hung up on Terance Dials that the PSU story line will disappear.
Are we becoming that predictable?
If you scan the Sports News Digest today, you see a lot of stories, obviously written over the previous week, about NU and how we don't win, can't win and how hard recruiting is, etc. etc. etc.

ESPN came loaded for bear Wednesday, with highlights of NU's last second loss to the Lions last fall, and depreciating comments about Vukusic's future in the NBA.

The articles contain the usual comments about if Duke or Stanford can do it, why not NU? One writer hints that NU would fire Bill Carmody but there's nobody else who would take the job.

I guess I'm getting tired of the same excuses, and the media guys who keep pounding the "NU will always lose" mantra. Its hard to recruit when a top prospect is impressed with the school, then goes home and hears the NU = Loser song from everyone around him.

We're heading into the Spring Quarter - the place where our #1 Women's Lacrosse and top ranked Softball and Tennis Teams dominate week after week.

Maybe its the mind set of kids who play those sports - there isn't a million dollar payday waiting for college Lacrosse, or Softball stars. They come to Evanston to play at the highest levels, win, and get a great education to boot.

Maybe the poster boy for NU Basketball should be Tavares Hardy - in his $300 banker's suit.
Anyway, while I was surfing for stories, this headline jumped out - Northwestern ends season for Hamady
Obviously, I had to follow the link and the story is about another "Northwestern Wildcat" team, one from Flint, Michigan, that struggled to a 4-7 start this year. Lately, however, they've been on a 9 for 10 run and now that they're 13-8, seem to be poised to make the comeback of the year.

The answer to the 4-7 start?
We started playing more team basketball," said junior Edward Johnson,The coaches getting on us and letting us know it's team basketball or no basketball.
So maybe the picture of Vedran leaving with a towel over his head mark a change in the way the Wildcats play roundball?

Vukusic and Mo Hachad's graduation [along with Evan Seacat] will put pressure on NU to play as a team next year. The Wildcats will have to beat other teams with a balanced offense, 10 points from the center, 3 or 4 treys from the PG, that kind of stuff, instead of hanging a whole season on one or two guys.

In most of the postgame stuff I read, Vedran took responsibility for Wednesday's loss, and a lot of the media guys agreed.

The sad thing is that on great teams, the other players step up when the star has a bad day. Mo's quote was that they rest of the Cats stood around "flat footed" as VV struggled with PSU's double team.

Next year, everyone on the Wildcats will have to play like a Div I scholarship player on a team.

They do that, and the NCAA "dream" just might come true.
-- da Coach

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