04 March 2012

NU's Third Trimester Report Card

Back in December we analyzed NU's B1G schedule and provided our readers with a road map to the NCAAs.  We broke the schedule down into trimesters and categorized games within each trimester to help track NU's progress towards making the NCAAs.  We graded NU's results over the first two trimesters last month.  A first trimester C+ and a second trimester B put NU into position.   The regular season is now in the books so it is time to send in the grades for the final trimester.

NU finished at 8-10 which is one game short of our 9-9 goal.  We had estimated that a 9-9 finish would put NU on the bubble, but NU is fortunate to find itself on the NCAAs doorstep with an 8-10 finish thanks to a better than expected B1G.

Third trimester
Original expected result: 4-2 (Minnesota, Michigan, at Penn State, at Io_a)
Revised expected result: 2-4 (Minnesota, at Penn State)
Actual result: 3-3 (Minnesota, at Penn State, at Io_a)

Analysis: NU exceeded revised expectations and finished 3-3.  This is short of the original 4-2 goal which included also a home win against Michigan and a win at Io_a.  At 3-3 NU outperformed by scoring the mild upset at Io_a.

In the eyes of the Selection Committee the two road victories will help.  The three games that NU lost were very close and are nothing to be ashamed about.  NU lost in OT to Michigan and lost in the final minute of games at Indiana and against Ohio State.

Grade: B

At first we were apprehensive about handing out two Bs and a C+ since NU still has a little work left to do to make the NCAAs.  At most schools being on the bubble is somewhere in the C range.  Then again NU is not like most schools.  A little bit of grade inflation should be familiar to most anyone who has matriculated through Northwestern and with NU's basketball history is entirely appropriate.