The last couple minutes were sticky. Northwestern kept turning the ball over against the scrappy desperation press of Wisconsin and those turnovers kept turning into layups. In the end though, Northwestern had enough. The Wildcats shocked 14th ranked Wisconsin by a final of 65-56 tonight in Madison –a place where the Badgers had lost only once previously this season.
And what a win for the team from Evanston. A week ago I wrote that Northwestern is better than you’d think. Now, the win against Wisconsin has me thinking that they might even be better than I think.
First year coach Chris Collins still has the Northwestern defense rocking and rolling and it turned in perhaps its gem of the season against the usually uber-efficient Wisconsin offensive attack. The Badgers couldn’t hit anything, finishing with just 15 made shots on 57 attempts (26%).
Northwestern wasn’t bad at the other end either, late turnovers aside, as Drew Crawford (30 loud points) led the Cats to their best scoring output since January 9th. NU shot 48%, quite a high number for the usually anemic offense.
For Collins, it was unmistakably a program-building type of win. Winning on the road in the Big Ten ain’t easy, winning against Wisconsin ain’t easy, and winning without many offensive weapons ain’t easy. For Collins and Northwestern, senior Drew Crawford was enough of a weapon tonight to shock the Badgers.
Northwestern has something good flowing and the Wildcats have now emerged from three out of their last five games victorious. They now sit at sixth in the standings in the tremendous Big Ten. Don’t act like you’re not impressed.