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Monday, November 7, 2011

2011-12 BIG Basketball Preview: Northwestern

I know John Shurna looks like he should be starring
for his high school J.V. team but the guy can really ball.
Too bad he plays defense like there's no foul limit. You
get five, man. Just five.

Head Coach: Bill Carmody – 160-176 (.476)
Lost: G Michael Thompson, G Mike Capocci
Returning:  F John Shurna (Sr), G Drew Crawford (Jr), C Luka Mirkovic (Sr), G JerShon Cobb (So), G Alex Marcotullio (Jr), F Davide Curletti (Sr)
New faces:   SG Tre Demps, PG David Sobolewski, PF Mike Turner

Preview: Will this be the year the Wildcats finally make the Big Dance? Losing Michael Thompson is really going to hurt but the good news is the rest of their core is returning.  Northwestern’s strengths are good strengths: low turnover rate, excellent 3-point shooting, and a top-notch overall offensive efficiency which stems from their distinct style of play that can be difficult to prepare for. Unfortunately, their flaws are glaring and often debilitating. The team was opportunistic in forcing turnovers but simply could not stop their opponents from scoring. Last season the NCAA average FG% was 47.8 but when playing Northwestern, opponents shot 52.6%. Furthermore, their post players have a tendency to pick up lots of cheap fouls. A deep team can overcome this.  Northwestern, however, is not a deep team.  Fixing one of these two would flaws would seem to be enough to push Northwestern into the upper half of the conference but it doesn’t seem Carmody or this group players are able to improve on the defensive side of the ball. The starting five (Shurna, Crawfrod, Mirkovic, Cobb, and one player to bedetermined) should at least continue last season’s offensive fireworks.  And as long as Northwestern stays efficient on the offensive end they’ll have a chance for upsets.  Alas, it seems the NCAA window has passed this team by without them making an appearance.
Shot in the dark at the starting 5:
G Drew Crawford
G JerShon Cobb
G Alex Marcotullio
F John Shurna
C Luka Mirkovic
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