Northwestern hopes first loss not costly

November, 28, 2012
11/28/12
1:31
AM ET
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Once the question began to unfold, Northwestern Wildcats sophomore point guard David Sobolewski began shaking his head in disapproval.

His squad had just been routed on its home floor Tuesday, losing 77-57 to the Maryland Terrapins in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The query was whether Northwestern’s loss was anything more significant than an early-season defeat, considering the Terps were the first major-conference opponent the Wildcats had faced after starting the season 6-0.

Sobolewski jumped on the question as soon as it was finished.

“No, it wasn’t,” Sobolewski said. “It was a November game against an ACC team. It’s not the end of the season. We got a lot of work to do for sure, but we’re not going to stop working. If anything, this will make us hungrier to improve in practice. So it was nothing more than a loss in November.”

Some would debate that.

Whether the Wildcats like it, the question that will be associated with them from November until March is whether they are an NCAA tournament-caliber team. They’ve never been to the tournament ... and that, more than ever, is the measuring stick for the program after four consecutive NIT appearances. The question won’t disappear until the goal of an NCAA tourney berth is realized.

From that standpoint, Northwestern didn’t look much tournament team on Tuesday. The Wildcats were outscored 49-31 in the second half and outrebounded 42-15, shot 6-of-25 from the 3-point range and allowed 44 points in the paint. And their bench was outscored 23-7.

For Scott Powers' full column on ESPNChicago.com, click here.
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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