03 November 2009

On NU breakthrough season's effect on Chicago

I saw comments recently from Shon Morris (a heckuva a guy, BTW) that when NU makes it to NCAAs that it will have a similar, though maybe somewhat smaller, splash in the Chicago area as the 1995 football run for the roses had.  I don't think making the NCAAs would suffice (though it would be newsworthy and garner some attention).

For those paying attention to preseason pub, unlike the 1995 football team, the 2009-10 basketball team isn't flying nearly as far under the radar.  Everywhere you look, you see NU and the NCAAs mentioned side-by-side.  The shock factor isn't there as much as it was with the football team. 

Also, the basketball team doesn't have an early season shock factor game like football had with its opener in the ND game.  The closest thing is the Butler game.  As good as Butler may be (ironically, they will probably be better in basketball this year than Notre Dame was in football in 1995), Butler does not resonate in the college basketball world as Notre Dame does in the college football world.  A victory over Butler would indeed be impressive, but it wouldn't turn heads in the same way that the victory in South Bend did.  A poor second is the Chicago tourney with a matchup against, yes, Notre Dame.  If NU wins that game, especially in conjunction with a victory over Butler, there could be some buzz.  A distant third would be an NU victory over NC State in what may be the year that the Big Ten finally gets over the hump in the Big Ten-ACC "Challenge".

Another factor is the simple difference in the number of games.  There are more games in college basketball, so each game carries a bit less weight than one of (then) eleven games in football.  A victory over MSU in January would turn heads, but again, not in the same way that beating Michigan at the big house did.

No, nothing short of vying for the Big Ten regular season title would be needed to create the same type of buzz that 1995 football created.  Carmody Court is not predicting that will happen, though one should never say never as it would be more expected than NU's Run for the Roses in 1995.