16 January 2014

Is this really a completely different team than 1.5 weeks ago?

CCC contends that NW is now a blue-collar scrappy team.  Is this true or wishful thinking?  We lean toward the latter but we honestly don't know right now. 

Recall that the first three B1G games NW was by far and away the worst B1G team defensively.  Then came the impressive defensive effort against the Illini which was followed up by another strong performance against the Payne-less Sparty.  Could the light switch be turned on with such sudden and dramatic effect?  Or is this simply a statistical blip that is as much a reflection of NW's opponents as it is of NW?

To be sure if anything will be made of this season it will be done on the defensive end.  It is crystal clear that CCC hasn't a clue how to coach this roster into even a below-average offense.  NW is performing at the lowest of lows on offense.  CCC is appropriately focusing his coaching efforts on defense this year; if he could mix in some time on techniques to break presses and traps that would be nice because sooner or later teams are going to try to exploit this Achilles Heel. 

We haven't dusted off our CCR analyses from prior years but we are certain that the ratios would show NW's defense has outperformed in the last two games and that the NW defense underperformed in the first three games.  This suggests a switch may have been turned.

What gives us pause is how dramatic the change in defense has been.  It's quite literally like night and day.  It just doesn't seem realistic to expect that NW's defense has suddenly gone from the worst defense to one of the better defenses. 

We are open minded about this and hope that the improved defense sticks so to speak.  With a few more games of strong defensive performances it really would look like the corner has been turned on defense.  And with that we would gladly eat our words from the writeup after the Illini game.