NIT Preview - Northwestern

SEATTLE - One game down, four to go. However, before the University of Washington can move on in the 75th National Invitation Tournament, they must face Northwestern. The tip is set for 7 p.m. PT from Alaska Airlines Arena on Friday. It will be aired on ESPNU and

Northwestern, coached by Bill Carmody, finished 19-13 on the season, including an 8-10 record in the Big Ten Conference. They also finished with the No. 19 strength of schedule and No. 52 RPI. The Wildcats have marquee wins over Michigan State, Georgia Tech and Seton Hall.

Leading the charge for the Wildcats will be John Shurna, a 6-foot-9 senior forward. The seasoned starter is averaging 19.9 points on 46 percent shooting from the field and 43 percent from beyond the arc. The Illinois native also brings a solid all-around game with 5.4 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.2 steals per contest. His point per game average is No. 18 in the nation.

Besides Shurna, Drew Crawford is the Wildcats' next star. The 6-foot-5 guard is averaging 16.5 points a game on 49 percent shooting. The junior also pulls in 4.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals a game.

Despite being only a freshman, point guard Dave Sobolewski is very solid. At 6-foot-1, the native of Naperville, Ill. is averaging 8.6 points and 3.7 assists per game in 35.6 minutes on the court. More impressive, however, is his 1.4 turnovers per game. With an assist to turnover ratio of 2.6, that's good enough to put Sobolewski in the top-25 nationally.

As a team, the Wildcats rank highly in several categories, such as No. 3 in assist to turnover ratio (1.56), No. 5 in assist percentage (64.8), No. 5 in 3-point field goal point percentage (38.7), No. 8 in 3-pointers made (288) and No. 37 true shooting percentage (56.4). However, they are only, No. 331 in rebounds per game (29.3), a statistic Washington will try and exploit due to their lack of effort on the rebounding end during their opening round win Tuesday over Texas-Arlington.

Historically, this is the eighth time Washington and Northwestern have met. The series started in 1952, and the Huskies currently a 5-2 lifetime mark versus the Wildcats. The most recent meeting happened in 1976, when the Huskies won 70-57 on a neutral court during the Far West Classic in Portland. When facing Northwestern in Seattle, Washington is a perfect 3-0.

The winner of the Northwestern-Washington game will take on the winner of another Big Ten/Pac-12 game, as Oregon hosts Iowa on Sunday at 2 pm PT Top Stories