Feb. 16, 2011
Northwestern (14-10, 4-9 Big Ten) vs. Iowa (10-15, 3-10 Big Ten)
Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011
Welsh-Ryan Arena (8,117)
Evanston, Ill. 8 p.m.
TV: Big Ten Network (Gus Johnson and Shon Morris)
Audio: 720 AM WGN and wgnradio.com (Dave Eanet and Bob Hildebrand)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 122 and XM 143
In-game Twitter updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
Northwestern Game Notes (PDF)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern seeks to sweep its regular season series with Iowa Thursday as the teams meet up at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Tip time is set for 8 p.m.
The Wildcats are hosting guests from Children's Heart Foundation, this year's beneficiary of NU's annual Dance Marathon. Head coach Bill Carmody is donating $1,000 to the fundraising efforts of the Northwestern student group which brings the most individuals to Thursday night's game.
Northwestern and Iowa have split their last 16 meetings dating back to 2002. The Wildcats have won five of the last six matchups between the teams in Evanston. A win by NU would give the team its first season sweep of the Hawkeyes since the 2003-04 campaign.
Northwestern is looking to bounce back from a cold shooting day at Penn State on Sunday, falling 65-41. The Wildcats entered the contest averaging 9.3 3-point field goals per game, but missed their first 15 attempts in the contest and finished just 2-for-21 from beyond the arc. Freshman guard JerShon Cobb paced NU with 10 points.
The Hawkeyes and the Wildcats rank first and second, respectively, in steals in Big Ten play. Iowa averages 6.1 thefts per game, while Northwestern is close behind at 6.0 per contest.
Northwestern hit 14 3-pointers, including 10 in the first half, in earning its largest win ever in Iowa City, defeating Iowa 90-71 Jan. 12. Drew Crawford
led the Wildcats with 19 points.
The Hawkeyes (10-15, 3-10) suffered a 62-45 home loss to Minnesota on Sunday. Bryce Cartwright led Iowa with 11 points and seven assists.
Junior guard Matt Gatens leads the team with an average of 12.5 points per game. Freshman forward Melsahn Basabe averages a team-best 7.0 rebounds per contest to go along with a norm of 10.5 points.
Fran McCaffery is in his first year at Iowa and has a 261-92 mark in 15 overall seasons as a head coach.
Setting the Standard
With a victory over Illinois Feb. 5, this year's senior class earned its 59th career win to surpass last year's class as the winningest in Northwestern history. The 37 combined wins by the Wildcats over the previous two seasons are a school record for back-to-back campaigns.
It's a rare thing when Michael Thompson isn't on the court for Northwestern. He has started all 119 games during his career as a Wildcat and surpassed Jitim Young (2001-04) Feb. 9 for the most starts in school history. On Jan. 12 at Iowa, he became the school's all-time leader in minutes played, surpassing Jim Stack (1979-83). He eclipsed 4,000 minutes for his career Jan. 20 vs. SIU Edwardsville. Last season, Thompson ranked fourth in the nation with an average of 37.7 minutes played per game. His average of 36.0 minutes per game this season ranks second in the Big Ten to only Penn State's Talor Battle.
Longest Active String of Consecutive Starts
Through games of 2/14/11
Source: STATS -- Chicago
1. Dairese Gary, New Mexico - 122
2. Tyler Newbold, Utah State - 121
3. Kevin Anderson, Richmond - 120
4. Michael Thompson, Northwestern - 119
Climbing the Charts
Senior point guard Michael Thompson currently has 1,482 career points, ranking him eighth in Northwestern history. He started the season in 21st place. The Chicago native also has 485 career assists. He surpassed Patrick Baldwin (1991-94) for first place in school history Jan. 15 at Michigan State. Thompson became the second player in NU history to post 400 career assists when he reached the milestone Nov. 30 in a win over Georgia Tech. He also ranks second all-time at Northwestern with 240 3-point field goals.
Northwestern has long been known for its accurate 3-point shooting. The Wildcats sport a .378 3-point percentage this season. NU is also 10th nationally with an average of 9.0 made 3-pointers per game. Individually, John Shurna is fifth in nation with a .495 3-point percentage. Shurna's 10-for-11 performance overall from the field in a win over Long Island Dec. 13 ranks as a tie for the second-best effort in program history.
Northwestern is well known for playing "team" offense and that's reflected in the statistics. The Wildcats lead the Big Ten and rank eighth in the nation with an average of 17.3 assists per game. NU's assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.66 (416 assists, 250 turnovers) is the nation's second-best mark, trailing only Wisconsin. The 'Cats are also fourth nationally with an average of only 10.4 turnovers per game.
A year after shattering the school season record with 317 3-point makes, the Wildcats have picked up right where they left off. NU leads the Big Ten and is 10th nationally with an average of 9.0 3-point makes per game this season. Michael Thompson ranks second among all Big Ten players with an average of 2.54 triples per contest in league play.
Freshman JerShon Cobb has gotten his NU career off to a good start. The Georgia native has started all 22 of the games that he has appeared in. He scored in double figures in four of his first five Big Ten games, including tallying a collegiate-best 18 points at No. 20 Illinois Jan. 6. Cobb ranks sixth among all conference freshmen with an average of 8.4 points per game. In league play, that average goes up to 9.7 points per contest, the fourth-best mark of any Big Ten frosh.
Wildcard Dates Set
The Big Ten Conference recently announced that the contest between Northwestern and Indiana in Bloomington will be played Feb. 19. The matchup tips at 6 p.m. Central time with Big Ten Network providing live television coverage. Also, the regular season finale between the Wildcats and Minnesota in Evanston will be played March 2 with tip time set for 7:30 p.m. Big Ten Network will televise the contest live.
Northwestern closes out its season series with Indiana on Saturday as it travels to Bloomington. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. Central time.
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