I know no one should really be surprised by the announcement, but the Big Ten made it official and announced the tournament seedings sometime today, so now we as northwestern fans know what we're up against. The official bracket is here and you should all gaze in wonder. Or something.
ANYWAY the important thing is how NU is going to faire, right? Right. So here's some of my thoughts:
Game 1: NU vs. Indiana. Again. Well alright, we beat them pretty soundly the first time, and they handled our defense pretty well a couple days ago, so the real question here is which NU team decides to show up? The one that can defend sometimes, or none of the time? I think that Carmody is a decent enough coach to be able to figure out what Indiana was doing at Bloomington, so NU will be able to scratch out a win.
Game 2: NU vs. Purdue. Well the things we've got going for us in this game, assuming we make it, is that we match up well with Purdue according to Matt Painter, and they don't have Robbie Hummel. They showed that they can still win without him, and I don't recall him having a major role in our win, so we'll see if we can make lightning strike twice against the first of potentially 3 conference winners that NU will need to face. I don't think we'll win this game but let's assume we do for the sake of continuing this thought pattern...
Game 3: NU vs (MSU or MN or PSU). I personally think NU will draw MSU if they make it this far. They've started playing cohesively, and Raymar Morgan has emerged as a guy who can score almost at will. Which doesn't bode well for a team that has trouble defending teams that are relatively inept at scoring, like NU is. This, combined with the fact that now MSU is playing in a win or go home situation, and is vying for a high tournament seed, and the fact that NU can't win on the road, means that this is setting up to be a slaughter. Again. But if lightning already struck twice and we beat Purdue, why not hope for a third time, eh?
Championship: NU vs (the others). I'm predicting that the winner of the other half of the bracket will be Ohio St, because they too have been playing lights out. So this would set up the third game in a row against a conference champion. How's that for a gauntlet? All I remember from the last meeting in Buckeyeland is that it was really, really embarrassing, and I've basically suppressed all memory of the event. I know that Evan Turner is a contender for player of the year, and that's reason enough to be nervous (remember, can't defend to save our lives), so I really think that if by some miracle we win this thing, we'll fall here. I believe that Ohio St is the best team in the conference (as well as having the best player), so this will be the ultimate challenge. Win here and I might say that even if we didn't get an auto bid, we'd deserve an at large selection to the NCAA tournament.
But none of that's going to happen. We're probably going to lose in the second round to Purdue, and I wouldn't be terribly surprised if we fall earlier to Indiana.