Jan. 20, 2005
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EVANSTON, Ill. -
Northwestern men's basketball coach Bill Carmody has always said that there is never a bad time for the bye to show up on the Big Ten schedule. He has a point, given the rigors of the two-month conference schedule--breaks are necessary now and then.
However, sometimes the breaks come at better times than others.
Northwestern at Penn State
Saturday, Jan. 22 * 4 p.m. Eastern (3 p.m. CST)
Bryce Jordan Center (University Park, Pa.)
TV: ESPN2 (Dr. Jerry Punch, play-by-play; Tim McCormick, analyst)
Radio: WGN 720 AM (Dave Eanet, play-by-play; Bob Hildebrand, analyst)
That may be the case for the Wildcats, who enter Saturday's game at Penn State with a 1-3 Big Ten record. That mark was constructed against a heavyweight quartet of opponents, however--entering the weekend, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Michigan State have combined to go 14-3. Illinois, of course, is No. 1 in the nation and unbeaten in conference play. Indiana's lone loss? At Northwestern. Michigan's lone loss? At Indiana. Michigan State's lone loss? At Wisconsin, where the Badgers have won 38 in a row including every Big Ten game they have played under fourth-year head coach Bo Ryan.
In typically understated fashion, Carmody said, "we have lost three in a row, but you look at the teams we lost to and they are good teams."
With that in mind, the Wildcats went back to work Monday knowing that this is no time to panic--there is plenty of Big Ten action still ahead. So Carmody did not deviate from his normal off-week routine.
"With the week off, we did not take any extra days off but instead we worked on the things we need to improve," he said. "When you are 1-3, there are obviously things you can do to improve your standing, so we worked on them.
"We spent two days on Penn State, as we do with every opponent," he continued. "The other days have been devoted to making us better."
Today's game is being broadcast nationally on ESPN2; this is NU's third nationally televised appearance of the season.
Did You Know?
Northwestern is 5-1 in its last six games against Penn State, its best run against a Big Ten opponent since the 'Cats had an 8-1 stretch against Wisconsin from 1967-73--five straight wins from 1967-70, a loss in the first of two 1971 meetings, followed by three wins from 1971-73.
The Series with Penn State
This marks the 26th meeting between the Wildcats and the Nittany Lions in men's basketball; Penn State leads the series 15-10.
NU has won two in a row, five of the last six, and eight of the last 12 in this series.
These teams met three times last year; Penn State won the first meeting in University Park (63-61), NU won in Evanston (65-52), and then the 'Cats won again in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament (57-52).
NU head coach Bill Carmody is 5-2 against the Nittany Lions during his four-plus years in Evanston.