Ohio State fans like me are spoiled. We expect our sports teams to win the vast majority of their games, to routinely move on to post-season tournaments and bowl games, and to win national championships every year.
Not every school is like that. I realized that when Richard went to Northwestern and I started following the Wildcats. NU has long had the reputation for being the toughest school, academically, in the Big Ten and the easiest, athletically, for the other schools to trounce. Northwestern students may have been the first to come up with the “you’ll be working for us one day” chant directed at opposing teams.
In the past 20 years, Northwestern football has stopped being a doormat and has become very tough and competitive. And Northwestern basketball has steadily improved under the careful tutelage of their excellent coach Bill Carmody. However, the Wildcats have never been to the NCAA Tournament. That’s right, never. As in, not in the history of mankind. Zero. Nada. Zilch. Goose egg.
This year, though, the Wildcats have a chance to get off the schneid. Entering the Big Ten Tournament, they stand at 18-12 overall, and 8-10 in the Big Ten. They have two great scorers, in John Shurna and Drew Crawford, a pretty good point guard in Dave Sobolewski, and a number of role players that Coach Carmody has molded into a good team. They shoot the three, run a Princeton-style offense that can burn teams with back cuts, and can stick around and pull games out at the end. If they could somehow win a few games in the Big Ten Tournament, they might actually earn that first invitation to the NCAA Tournament.
I’m rooting for them to do so. So please, Webner House readers — won’t you also root for the Wildcats this weekend? It’s high time for them to partake of some March Madness, Northwestern style.