24 January 2013

NORTHWESTERN 55 Minnesota 48 (F)

That was most certainly a Carmody Court kinda night.  Oh yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh.  Payback is a beeeeeeyotchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  Ain't that right Tubby????????????????

Northwestern (12-8, 3-4) took down kenpom #7 Minnesota last night.  Things started out ok for NU with barometer Jared Swopshire going off early on the offensive end.  Despite the nice start the game started to get away from NU for most of the first half.  Just like the game up in Minneapolis the Gophers enforced a no fly zone around both backboards.  And the tempo was too fast for Northwestern.  Yet somehow the first half ended with a beautiful Tre Demps step-back J that shrank the NU deficit to just three points.  Games like that usually have a way of the ending with the outplayed team storming back to victory, and that was most certainly the case here.

If you would be so kind as to allow us to ignore NU's continued woes from the charity stripe (please!!!!!!!!)  we shall say that the second half was exquisite.  During a pivotal 8+ minute stretch that began with about 13 minutes to play NU outscored Minnesota 18-4.  This huge run was sparked by Coach Carmody masterfully changing defenses between the 1-3-1 and man-to-man.  This switching defense took the starch out of the Gopher offense.  Suddenly NU points off of Gopher turnovers were abundant, and the Minnesota advantage on the glass mysteriously and miraculously vanished.  Perhaps NU was the fortunate recipient of a disproportionate number of rebounds caroming into NU hands, but we think it was more than that.  The way we see it NU's defense knocked Minnesota woozy which took the starch out of their rebounding aggressiveness.

Tre Demps did not set the world on fire in his first start, but he picked his moments to make his mark.  The first half ending shot mentioned above.  Swishing a high-arcing rushed three point shot with the shot clock running down.  Making 3-4 free throws -- a minor miracle for NU last night.

And this game was a glaring example of Carmody Court's unearthed trend that the losing team from the first game nearly always closes the gap in the rematch.  In the first game NU lost 69-51; in the rematch NU climbed all the way back and then some (an amazing 25 point swing on net).

Next up is NU's first trip to the Land O' Corn for a B1G battle.  Kenpom has installed NU as a three point favorite.  Past seasons would suggest a heightened anxiety with NU playing as a road favorite, but this is a brave new world.  NU is an outstanding 3-1 on the road.  NU won at Penn State under similar circumstances.  Nebraska has a first year coach, and teams with relatively new coaches tend to have trouble with NU's schemes (see: Chambers, Patrick and McCarffery, Fran).  And as the old adage goes good defense doesn't take nights off, and NU has been playing good defense these past few games.