Normally at this time, I would ignore Huskie basketball and focus just on football but it's a bye week so let's dive in. I love college basketball and its advanced statistics, but NIU basketball has been very hard to follow these past couple seasons.
Credit to the crowd of 4,001 people last night, the highest total for the Convocation Center since the 2005 season. It's these types of opponents that can breathe life and excitement into Dekalb (looking at you football team).
The Huskies surpassed my expectations, but this game was pretty much over halfway through the second period.
Positives (yes, positives)
They got to the free throw line. The Huskies got to the line 28 times and made 20 of their free shots. Xavier Silas was a remarkable 12 for 12. The Huskies were just as effective on offense as the Wildcats were. The difference? The Purple People Eaters couldn't miss from beyond the arc. Those count for 3, whereas free throws either count for 1 or 2.
Efficiency on offense. Can you believe the Huskies actually had a better shooting percentage than Northwestern? We shot 52% to their 50% overall. 61% to 54% from two, but again only 35% to 46% from three. Why do these positives keep turning into negatives?
Where was the defense? All this talk about improving the defense in the offseason and the Huskies perimeter defense was really bad. Is this going to last all season long? I hope not. I actually don't know too much about Northwestern, but this is supposed to be one of their best teams ever and it looked that way on offense. While offense comes and goes, defense can be a mainstay for a team. This game has me concerned.
Lack of post-presence. Northwestern was able to grab 16 offensive rebounds, which gave them a lot more chances to score on the offensive end, compared to only 9 by the Huskies.
Turnovers. 19 turnovers just isn't going to do it in any game. NW had 70. Yes, SEVENTY shots taken compared to 50 by NIU.
Xavier Silas was just 6 of 15, but an amazing 12 of 12 from the free throw line adding up to 25 pts for the Huskies. Freshman Nate Rucker had a good debut scoring 11 and grabbing 6 rebounds. JC transfer Tim Toler had 12.
Freshman PG Kyree Jones had 4 turnovers in only 15 minutes of playing time (bleh). Jeremy Landers played 8 minutes, turned the ball over twice and missed 3 free throws. (bleh x2).
Random thoughts: Where are the AP photos from this game? Northwestern is a Big 10 team! Bradley is going to murder us.