21 February 2015

Green shoots

Tonight NU (4-10) walloped Penn State (3-12) in Evanston to the tune of 60-39 and extended the Wildcats' win streak to three.  While the prior win at Minnesota was eye opening we suspected human nature would take hold of this young team and allow another sad home loss to a bad Penn State team.  Instead what we saw was a team that is showing signs that it will come of age under CCC.


The Penn State was easily NU's best performance of the season and continued what is now a three game rebound from what was NU's worst performance of year against Michigan State.  What's most heartening during this surge has been that each game's performance has been stronger than the prior game.  And for the first time all season NU outperformed an average B1G squad on both ends of the court!

We'd like to say that we saw this coming when we wrote last time that we suspected NU would snap back to put the wheels on this train.  We in fact could envision the team going on a run once it got over the mental hurdle of breaking the losing streak.  But the truth is we didn't envision that the team would play as well in its wins as it has in the past two games.

We give credit this strong three-game stretch to Vic Law for beginning to live up to the hype -- especially over the past two games.  If he can continue to shoot this way and continue to learn to move without the ball then we really can see this guy growing into a star for NU.

We also like the brief flashes that Gavin Skelly has showed of late.  The guy needs to build some strength to bang down low, but hopefully it won't come at the cost of his agility and energy which has been a real asset.

With these two guys stepping up we can see the rest of the team relax a bit on offense and get into a better flow and rhythm.  This has been apparent with Demps who hasn't had to force the action nearly as much of late.  BMac has seen his point production go down, but this is not a bad thing.  He has good vision and knows where and when to pass the ball, so the fact that he has gone into more of the facilitator role can only be a positive.  Olah also looked much more relaxed on offense today knocking down some baseline jumpers that he's short armed in recent games.

In the bigger picture with the three game win streak NU is now expected to win 5.5 games.  While 5.5 wins isn't something to write home about it still is a huge improvement from where the team was just ten days ago.
We are also pleased that this little win streak has pretty much guaranteed that NU will not make B1G history by becoming the first 13th or 14th place teams; those honors look likely to be bestowed upon Penn State and Rutgers, respectively.

On the twitter we've honored this win streak but more symbolically our getting off the CCC fence by changing our name to "Coach C Court".  It's still premature to draw any conclusions, but we've now seen enough from the frosh and CCC's coaching abilities to think there is at least some evidence to go with the belief of brighter days ahead.