Cats squandered too many chances
INDIANAPOLIS -- There are various levels of disappointment with the most painful being the one at which you’re so close to success, but still end up in failure.
Thursday’s 75-68 overtime loss to Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten tournament was that for Northwestern. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, it was hardly the first defeat of that nature this season.
2011-12 has been a season defined by them. There may not be another team in the country that has been so close to success, but still so far from it.
Here’s a quick look back at Northwestern’s myriad gut-wrenching disappointments this season:
• 57-56 loss to Illinois on Jan. 4
• 66-64 overtime loss to Michigan on Jan. 11
• 58-56 loss to Purdue on Jan. 28
• 71-66 loss to Indiana on Feb. 15
• 67-55 overtime loss to Michigan on Feb. 21
• 75-73 loss to Ohio State on Feb. 29
• 75-68 overtime loss to Minnesota on March 8
Despite ending up on the wrong end of so many close calls, Northwestern’s spirits haven’t been crushed through it all. The Wildcats consider themselves fighters, and that’s what they’ll continue to do.
“This team’s tough,” Northwestern sophomore JerShon Cobb said. “We come back. We fight through adversity. But sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your way.”
While each disappointment has been difficult for the Wildcats to endure, what will make them even harder to swallow if they’re the reasons Northwestern is kept out of the NCAA tournament again. If Northwestern wins any of those games, it may just be on the right side of the bubble.
Northwestern junior Drew Crawford hoped the NCAA tournament selection committee didn’t evaluate it simply based on wins and losses and saw there was more to its résumé. He felt the Wildcats left no doubt they could play with anyone in the country with so many close games in the Big Ten. They just haven’t won them all.
“It’s a game we should have won,” Crawford said of the Minnesota loss. “It was a tough game that we weren’t able to win. At the same time, we’re a tough team. I think that we showed throughout the entire year. So I just hope other people understand that and able to see that we’re a tough team, capable of playing with the elite.”
TOP 25 SCOREBOARD
13:00 1st Qtr Rutgers 0 North Carolina 0 8:00 PM ET North Carolina State UCF Final Illinois 18 Louisiana Tech 35
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
Final Marshall 52 Northern Illinois 23 Final Navy 17 San Diego State 16
Final Central Michigan 48 Western Kentucky 49 Final Fresno State 6 Rice 30
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State