12 March 2009

Unconventional Lineup Comes Up Short Against Minnesota

Coach Carmody went to an unconventional lineup of Williams, Nash, Mirkovic, Thompson, and Shurna last week in a move to rest his big guns for the stretch run at #19 Purdue in West Lafayette. Surprisingly, this lineup not only managed to hold onto a slim NU lead but actually built upon the lead thanks in no small part to offensive contributions from Williams.

Against Minnesota in today's Big Ten Tournament game, with 4 fouls for Coble and Thompson late in the second half, Carmody opted for a similarly unconventional lineup of Nash, Williams, Moore, Ryan and Peljusic during a pivotal late second half stretch. Carmody gambled to ensure Thompson and Coble would be available for the closing minutes, but perhaps Carmody also wanted to get a little breather for his stars as Thompson had exerted a lot of energy to get NU back into the game, and Coble was hounded by multiple Minnesota defenders after a stellar first half.

This move proved less successful than the Purdue game lineup as Minnesota opened up a 3 point lead while Thompson and Coble sat. There is some overblown criticism to Carmody's decision because of this 3 point gap, but this was not the reason NU lost. No, NU lost because it could not make a bucket even once the stars came back into the game. Had NU won this game (like the Purdue game), there wouldn't be much attention paid to this at all. It just goes to show that winning is a great salve.

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