How about them Wildcats!? (Northwestern Hoop)

Bleedred

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I know it's random, but my son is a freshman in at Northwestern, and it just so happens that it is coinciding with a basketball surge at the University. Last year, NW made the tournament for the first time in their existence and they return the top 5 scorers from last year's team. Scottie Lindsey (forward) and Bryant McIntosh (PG) are preseason all-big 10 players and McIntosh is on the Bob Cousy aware watch list. McIntosh is one of 3 unanimous selections for the preseason all Big Ten team (with Ethan Happ of Wisconsin and Miles Bridges of Michigan State) They are rated #20 in the USA Today preseason coaches poll and coach Chris Collins (son of Doug, former Duke guard) is one of the hottest up and coming coaches in the NCAA. They have landed two 4-star recruits next year, which makes their 2018-19 recruiting classes one of the best in the Big 10, and a top 20 national recruiting class, at least to date, which doesn't count A.J. Turner (Boston College transfer) who has to sit out this year but will play next. Also, under construction is a $110 million athletic facility that will house a new arena for the basketball team, which will help with the effort to put NW on the map as a premier college basketball destination.

There is excitement in Evanston, and rightfully so. Now if they can only keep Collins from fleeing to Duke once Coach K retires in the next year or 3!

http://sportspolls.usatoday.com/ncaa/basketball-men/polls/coaches-poll/
 

TomTerrific

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My son is a senior at NU and it has been a pleasure to witness the steady upward march of the team during his time there, culminating in last year's first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. The only slight bummer is the fact that all home games this year get played in some godforsaken location far from Evanston due to the athletic facility still being under construction. Nonetheless, I'm venturing out there for a couple of games later this year as seeing big-time college basketball live is a real treat.

Best of luck to your kid, BR. I presume you're going to parents' weekend in November?

EDIT: Just saw the question above, yes, Charlie Hall is still on the team
 

Bleedred

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Yes...be there in November and for at least one game. Sucks that they are playing so far off campus, but next year should be a treat
 

TomTerrific

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On the likelihood of Collins hightailing it for Duke after Coach K retires, he did just sign a 10-yr extension making him the second highest paid coach in the Big 10. I know college coaches break contracts with relative impunity, but that's at least something. Hopefully the fact that Doug Collins lives nearby and goes to every home game is worth something as well.
 

Bleedred

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I agree with you that NW has a chance to keep Collins. It looks like he's turning that program into a real contender. It's an amazing school (similar to Duke) and could look at it as a new Duke in college hoop. Plus, he's starting to pull in very good-great Illinois recruits, which is a talent rich pool. Finally, he was born and raised there. That all said, Duke may be too hard to pass up if offered to him.
 

Bleedred

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Not complaining at all. The basketball facility is going to be one of the nicest facilities in the country after it's completed. I wasn't aware that there was going to be a new football facility, and I don't think there is. Those are practice venues, if I'm not mistaken. Still gorgeous, but the NW stadium is very meh. I was just there this weekend for Parents weekend for the Purdue game (23-13 NW victory) and let's just say that NW football fans have a way to go.
 

Dehere

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Nothing but hearsay but I was on the NW campus last week for a conference and talked to a guy who's about as close to the program as you can be without being on the coaching staff and he says the coaches are concerned that this team is not as unselfish as last year's group. They've had some success, added a couple strong recruits, and now they're too concerned with getting their own shots.

Maybe nothing to it but it was interesting to me. I'm rooting for them to take another step forward.
 

Bleedred

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Nothing but hearsay but I was on the NW campus last week for a conference and talked to a guy who's about as close to the program as you can be without being on the coaching staff and he says the coaches are concerned that this team is not as unselfish as last year's group. They've had some success, added a couple strong recruits, and now they're too concerned with getting their own shots.

Maybe nothing to it but it was interesting to me. I'm rooting for them to take another step forward.
I'm wondering if it's the weight of expectations too. Preseason #20 is brand new territory for a NW team, and these guys are not going to sneak up on anyone. Hopefully Collins can nip any selfishness in the bud. Would be a shame if they don't get a great year out of this group (a 3rd place finish in the Big Ten behind Michigan State and Purdue isn't an outrageous possibility).

Edit: Tonight will be interesting. Tough game v. Creighton
 
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uk_sox_fan

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A humbling loss yesterday to Texas Tech: 85-49 in the Championship game of the HOF Tip-off Classic (Collins' worst loss in 5 years at NU). Hopefully, this is the kick-in-the-butt they need to get on track before conference play or this will be a long season for the Wildcats.
 

canderson

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I watched the first half of yesterday's game because I was apparently bored to tears already. I doubt I've ever watched a NW game in my life aside from the tourney games last year.

NW started the game with a technical because they didn't provide a lineup by the 10 minute rule. I've never - ever - seen that before. It almost seemed the team, from that on, couldn't have cared less about playing yesterday.
 

Bleedred

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Another loss last night, on the road, to Georgia Tech 52-51. They fought back to take the lead with 7 seconds left, and Georgia Tech went the length of the floor and hit a layup at the buzzer to win. It was a much better effort, but this NU team did not look like a top 25 team
 

Ale Xander

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My son is a senior at NU and it has been a pleasure to witness the steady upward march of the team during his time there, culminating in last year's first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. The only slight bummer is the fact that all home games this year get played in some godforsaken location far from Evanston due to the athletic facility still being under construction. Nonetheless, I'm venturing out there for a couple of games later this year as seeing big-time college basketball live is a real treat.

Best of luck to your kid, BR. I presume you're going to parents' weekend in November?

EDIT: Just saw the question above, yes, Charlie Hall is still on the team
Rosemont is godforsaken but the good thing is that it is close to O'hare for the parents and fans that want to fly in.
 

The Needler

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If I were a Northwestern alum, I might rather go back to bad basketball without Collins than middling basketball with him. For those of you who haven't followed the Johnnie Vassar story, I'd recommend the well-reported Vice story below. I find Vassar's story credible, and it's pretty shitty stuff, even for college basketball, but especially for an elite academic institution.

https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/53x5pq/did-northwestern-basketball-run-off-johnnie-vassar

https://www.insidenu.com/2017/3/30/15119396/johnnie-vassar-opinion-op-ed-northwestern-basketball-chris-collins-ncaa-transfer-violations
 

TomTerrific

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If I were a Northwestern alum, I might rather go back to bad basketball without Collins than middling basketball with him. For those of you who haven't followed the Johnnie Vassar story, I'd recommend the well-reported Vice story below. I find Vassar's story credible, and it's pretty shitty stuff, even for college basketball, but especially for an elite academic institution.

https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/53x5pq/did-northwestern-basketball-run-off-johnnie-vassar

https://www.insidenu.com/2017/3/30/15119396/johnnie-vassar-opinion-op-ed-northwestern-basketball-chris-collins-ncaa-transfer-violations
Yes, I'm very aware of that story, and I feel badly for the kid. It's also a story that's very well known around NU, so it's not like people are sticking their heads in the sand there. What it tells me is that there is a good chance Collins has a shitty side he's not shy to use. Which means I'm glad I don't have to stand up for him as a person. and that I wont weep when he leaves. In the meantime, I'll still take my enjoyment in watching the team.

I take it as a given that in Division 1 Sports, behavior like Collins' (and much worse, frankly) is to be expected inasmuch as the system is set up to reward such behavior (i.e., in this case, it comes from the NCAA's system of athletic scholarships). Even at "elite academic institutions" (e.g. Harvard).

Out of curiousity, what D1 football or basketball programs would you be willing to root for given the standards you've set out above?
 
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The Needler

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Out of curiousity, what D1 football or basketball programs would you be willing to root for given the standards you've set out above?
Northwestern before Collins? Ohio State? The University of Miami? SMU football?

My point was not that you shouldn't root for Northwestern, but that as an alum, I might find it preferable to root for a clean, but lovably losing program than one that got down in the dirt with everyone else for a chance at occasionally making the Sweet 16. Your mileage of course, may vary, and I don't judge you for looking past it. I posted the op-ed because it addresses this issue. I think the last few paragraphs sum up the fan's dilemma well.

Also, from a personal standpoint, I'm not a big fan of the "everybody does it" justification. It may be true that every school commits infractions, but it is certainly true that some programs are much dirtier or cleaner than others, and I personally think those levels matter.
 
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TomTerrific

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I absolutely agree that levels matter. I also think that the kind of thing Collins is alleged to have done is very, very common in Div. I sports, and definitely in the Big 10, and the primary reason for that is the system strongly incentivizes it. It doesn't make it right, but it establishes some kind of baseline upon which to judge levels. IMO, the original sin comes when you offer athletic scholarships under the current system.

Let me also offer an example of something I think is worse. The Ivy League doesn't give athletic scholarships (I'm bringing this up because you raised the issue of what elite academic institutions should do). But they absolutely do admit much less qualified kids who have an athletic skill that they covet, and provide financial aid, including grants, to those students. Again, all of this is a matter of degree, but it has reached a level for sports such as football and basketball that I think Harvard alums, to name one school, should be upset. I think the practice of athletic scholarships is corrosive for academic institutions, but I prefer it to what schools such as Harvard are engaged in.

Knowing the Johnny Vassar story does have some impact on my support for NU basketball, but not enough to stop me from following it. On the other hand, I also watch NU football while also being certain that Fitzy has done, and continues to do, far worse things than Collins has done.
 

The Needler

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I can't be sure we're talking about the same things. If the issue were just Collins trying to get Vassar to transfer by telling him he fucking sucks, I could see where you're coming from. But there are credible allegations including: (1) Northwestern doctored Vassar's internship time cards to create a basis upon which to revoke his scholarship, and actually did revoke that scholarship until the school's aid appeal board overturned that decision; (2) Northwestern's Deputy AD pressured him to sign an agreement voluntarily relinquishing his scholarship telling Vassar that Vassar's attorney had approved the agreement, when he hadn't; (3) Collins and other members of the athletic department repeatedly called Vassar's seriously ill mother pressuring her to convince Vassar to give up his scholarship.

These are despicable things alleged to have been done to an underprivileged young kid with a recently-deceased father and ill mother. I don't see how on earth you can compare that to Harvard or Yale--who have been lowering admissions standards for legacies, celebrities, and donors forever--lowering admissions standards for athletes.
 

Bleedred

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Wow, this team has shit the bed. 11-9; 2-5 in the conference after being as high as 16 in certain preseason polls. Returning all 5 starters from a team that won 20 games and gave Gonzaga a run for their money in the tournament to this crap. Preseason All-Big Ten player Scottie Lindsey has sucked, and Bryant Mckintosh hasn't been much better. Huge disappointment in Evanston.
 

DukeSox

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That second half by NW was like the Butler championship game in 2011
 

Humphrey

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The Harvard basketball situation is a lot more subtle.
They have a very large roster, around 20 kids, a good 5 more than most D1 programs have. They carry more kids than they can ever hope to contribute to their program and there are claims(cynical or legitimate, I'm not sure) that their end-of-benchers are recruited simply to balance out the academic deficiencies of some of their better players (not that the better players are dummies by any means). Kids leave the program because they don't get to play.
 

The Needler

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Curious what the alum/fan feeling about Collins is these days. The two years since the OP have been a return to the NU of old, and an 0-2 start in the Big Ten this season looks like more of the same. I can’t imagine they’d fire Collins since he’s got a longterm contract, and it’s hard to see them finding someone better.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Curious what the alum/fan feeling about Collins is these days. The two years since the OP have been a return to the NU of old, and an 0-2 start in the Big Ten this season looks like more of the same. I can’t imagine they’d fire Collins since he’s got a longterm contract, and it’s hard to see them finding someone better.
Collins seems to have bought himself some time with a real good recruiting class. Of his top four scorers, 3 are freshman and another a sophomore. The two freshman bigs of this group who ask are their best rebounders. NW is on the short list for Max Christie, the #1 player in state of Illinois class of 2021 along with three other 4-stars in 20 and 21........but the Home Run score in 21 is the #2 ranked national player Patrick Baldwin Jr who has the unique connection of having a father who was a Chris Collins assistant for 4 years prior to getting the Wisc-Milwaukee gig. Keep an eye on this one.

This years team has made a significant leap since Thanksgiving after losing 2 of their first 3 games to Merrimack and Radford. They have taken Michigan State and a sneaky good DePaul team (12-1) down to the wire their last two. It will be interesting to see if this improvement continues. If this growth is real there will finally be some legit optimism about this program.
 
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Bleedred

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Collins seems to have bought himself some time with a real good recruiting class. Of his top four scorers, 3 are freshman and another a sophomore. The two freshman bigs of this group who ask are their best rebounders. NW is on the short list for Max Christie, the #1 player in state of Illinois class of 2021 along with three other 4-stars in 20 and 21........but the Home Run score in 21 is the #2 ranked national player Patrick Baldwin Jr who has the unique connection of having a father who was a Chris Collins assistant for 4 years prior to getting the Wisc-Milwaukee gig. Keep an eye on this one.

This years team has made a significant leap since Thanksgiving after losing 2 of their first 3 games to Merrimack and Radford. They have taken Michigan State and a sneaky good DePaul team (12-1) down to the wire their last two. It will be interesting to see if this improvement continues. If this growth is real there will finally be some legit optimism about this program.
Thanks for this information (curious what site(s) I can read to learn of it going forward). I will be traveling to Evanston this winter to take in a game with my son, who is a junior this year, and very much looking forward to it.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Thanks for this information (curious what site(s) I can read to learn of it going forward). I will be traveling to Evanston this winter to take in a game with my son, who is a junior this year, and very much looking forward to it.
Verbalcommits.com, 24/7sports.com, maxpreps.com, scout.com......
 

Domer

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Northwestern just lost to Hartford, who were picked to finish in the bottom half of the America East