Feb. 18, 2005
NU-Penn State Game Notes in PDF Format
NU Player Bios in PDF Format
NU Statistics in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader
EVANSTON, Ill. -
For fans of Northwestern men's basketball, the final few weeks of the 2004-05 season are feeling a lot like the final few weeks of the 2003-04 campaign.
Northwestern vs. Penn State
Saturday, Feb. 19 * 1:30 p.m. Central
Welsh-Ryan Arena (Evanston, Ill.)
TV: ESPN+ Regional (Jim Barbar, play-by-play; Mike Kelley, analyst)
Radio: WGN 720 AM (Dave Eanet, play-by-play; David Kaplan, analyst)
Last year, fans rode a roller-coaster ride with the Wildcats, exulting in wins and suffering excrutiating losses in February and early March as the team hovered around .500 in its bid for postseason eligibility. In the end, of course, NU was unable to make it happen, losing the regular-season finale to Michigan and then going 1-1 at the Big Ten Tournament for an overall record of 14-15.
With five games left in this year's regular season, Northwestern is at .500. That makes the math simple--the 'Cats must go at least 3-2 the rest of the way to enter the Big Ten Tournament with a winning record. Do that, and they guarantee postseason eligibility regardless of what happens at the United Center from March 10-13 (a postseason bid, of course, is a whole different story, as the 2001-02 NU team found out when the NIT bypassed them and their 16-13 record).
A quick glance at the schedule shows that three wins (or more) will take some work. For one thing, the top two teams in the Big Ten are still left on the Wildcats' schedule--national No. 1 Illinois in Champaign (Wednesday), and No. 10 Michigan State at home (March 2). The other three games include today's home meeting with Penn State and a visit from Michigan next Saturday; the Nittany Lions and the Wolverines are behind the 'Cats in the Big Ten standings, but both beat NU earlier this year. Northwestern's season finale takes place at Indiana's Assemby Hall, a place where the 'Cats have never won--on the Hoosiers' Senior Day, no less.
"We need to get this game Saturday," said NU head coach Bill Carmody. "If we lose, then we are looking at having to win three of our last four to be eligible for the postseason, and two of those games come against Illinois and Michigan State, teams I think are head and shoulders above everyone else in the Big Ten right now."
Did You Know?
NU has won 10 games at Welsh-Ryan Arena for four straight seasons; the 'Cats are 10-3 at home this season after Monday's win. Prior to this four-year run, NU had just five double-figure win campaigns at home since opening McGaw Hall in 1952-53--and never more than two in a row. The team record for home wins in a season is 13, a number the 'Cats can match this year with wins in their last three games.
The Series with Penn State
Today marks the 27th meeting between the Wildcats and the Nittany Lions in men's basketball; Penn State leads the series 16-10 after taking a 65-62 decision in State College on Jan. 22.
NU has won five of the last seven, and eight of the last 13 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 5-3 against the Nittany Lions during his four-plus years in Evanston.