March 12, 2014
WATCH: Coach Collins Interview | D. Crawford Interview | T. Demps Interview
Skip Myslenski's Big Ten Tournament Preview
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern, the No. 11 seed, squares off with sixth-seeded Iowa for the second straight year in Thursday's opening round of the 2014 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Tip-off is set for approximately 8 p.m. Central time.
Northwestern is undefeated in the state of Indiana this season. NU defeated Indiana 54-47 in Bloomington Jan. 18. The Wildcats then closed out their regular season with a 74-65 victory at Purdue on Sunday. Third-team All-Big Ten selection Drew Crawford scored a game-high 27 points with seven rebounds to lead the way. Sophomore center Alex Olah contributed 14 points and seven rebounds for the 'Cats, who earned their fourth Big Ten road win of the season.
This is the third time that Northwestern and Iowa are squaring off in the Big Ten tournament. Both previous contests were played in Chicago with Iowa as the No. 6 seed and NU the 11 seed. Iowa won 72-55 March 8, 2001 and 73-59 March 14, 2013.
Regular Season: Iowa earned a 93-67 victory Jan. 9 in Iowa City before posting a 76-50 win Jan. 25 in Evanston.
The Hawkeyes have dropped five of their last six contests, most recently falling 66-63 at home to Illinois last Saturday. Aaron White paced Iowa with 12 points and 8 rebounds.
Roy Devyn Marble, a first-team All-Big Ten selection, leads the team with an average of 17.0 points per game. White contributes 13.3 points and a team-best 6.8 rebounds per contest while ranking second in the Big Ten with a .588 field goal percentage.
Iowa leads the Big Ten with an average of 82.6 points per game and is second with a +7.4 rebounding margin.
Fran McCaffery is in his fourth season as the head coach at Iowa where he has a 74-61 record. He has a career record of 325-239 in 18 seasons overall as a head coach.
CRAWFORD EARNS ALL-BIG TEN HONORS
Redshirt senior forward Drew Crawford was recognized as a third-team All-Big Ten selection of the league's media members when conference honors were announced March 10. It is the second third-team all-conference selection for Crawford who also earned the honor as a junior in 2011-12. He was also named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2009-10. Crawford was particularly outstanding in the Wildcats' Big Ten road games this season, averaging 19.0 points per game and shooting 48.8 percent from the field.
OLAH STEPS UP
Sophomore center Alex Olah continues to show why he's one of the most improved players in the Big Ten this season. After posting his first collegiate double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds against Indiana Feb. 22, Olah posted 20 points at Nebraska March 1. It was his second 20-point game of the season after scoring a career-best 23 points vs. Wisconsin Jan. 2. Coupled with 14-point performances vs. Penn State and Purdue, Olah is averaging 16.3 points per game over his last four games while shooting 61.5 percent (24-39) from the field. Olah ranks ninth in the Big Ten with a .505 field goal percentage after shooting .415 as a freshman. His average of 1.8 blocked shots per game ranks fourth in the league.
CRAWFORD CLIMBS NU RECORDBOOK
When Drew Crawford got the starting nod against Iowa Jan. 25 he became Northwestern's career leader in both games played and games started. Crawford's 141 games played to date surpassed the previous record of 130 held by John Shurna (2009-12), while his 140 starts bested the previous mark of 129 held by Michael Thompson (2008-11).
Crawford's Northwestern Career Ranks:
Games Played: 1st--141
Games Started: 1st--140
Minutes Played: 2nd--4,548
Field Goal Attempts: 2nd--1,539
Field Goals: 3rd--675
3-Point Field Goals: 4th--227
3-Point Field Goal Attempts: 5th--645
Blocked Shots: 6th--97
DOING IT WITH DEFENSE
Head coach Chris Collins points to the team's first meeting with Iowa on Jan. 9 as a turning point in the season. After suffering a 93-67 loss to the Hawkeyes, the Wildcats turned their focus to becoming a strong defensive team. Northwestern responded by winning five of its next seven games from Jan. 12-Feb. 1. Here are a few defensive highlights:
Since Jan. 12, the Wildcats have held their foes to a combined 39.4 percent shooting.
Illinois' 43 points on Jan. 12 were the fewest by an NU conference foe since Minnesota in a 55-40 loss to the 'Cats on Jan. 20, 2007.
Indiana shot just 25.0 percent (15-60) in NU's 54-47 win Jan. 18. The mark was the lowest by a Northwestern Big Ten opponent since Michigan shot 22.2 percent in a 58-34 victory by the Wildcats on Feb. 4, 1999.
Wisconsin's .263 field goal percentage Jan. 29 was its fourth-lowest in Bo Ryan's 13 seasons as head coach and its second-lowest in a home game (.222 vs. North Dakota State, 1/21/06).
Over the last 30 years, this is the first time that Northwestern has held four Big Ten opponents (Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Wisconsin) below 30 percent shooting in a game.
NU ranked second to only Ohio State in scoring defense in Big Ten play, allowing 63.3 points per game while ranking third with a .419 opponents' field goal percentage.
CRAWFORD NAMED FIRST-TEAM ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN
Northwestern graduate student Drew Crawford was named to the Capital One Academic All-America First Team on Thursday. He is the first Wildcat men's basketball player selected to the first team since Shon Morris in 1988. Crawford was previously named to the second team as a junior in 2012. He is the fourth first-team selection for NU in school history, joining Jim Burns (1967), Mike Campbell (1980) and Morris (1987, 1988). Crawford earned his bachelor's degree in economics in June and is currently working towards his master's degree in sports administration.
Northwestern has already racked up a number of impressive Big Ten road wins in some places where it's difficult to succeed. The 'Cats posted a 54-47 victory at Indiana's hallowed Assembly Hall Jan. 18 before notching a 65-56 win at Wisconsin's Kohl Center Jan. 29. The Badgers' home loss was just their 20th in Bo Ryan's 13 seasons at the helm, including only the 13th by a Big Ten team. UW had been 68-4 vs. unranked league foes under Ryan. The 'Cats followed up the win in Madison with a 55-54 victory at Minnesota three days later, NU's first win in Minneapolis since 2007. Including a road win at Purdue, Northwestern posted four Big Ten road wins for the first time since the 1959-60 season.
Drew Crawford is the Big Ten's active leading scorer with 1,884 career points. The total ranks third in school history and is 16 points shy of Billy McKinney (1974-77) for second place. Crawford ranks 20th nationally among all active Division I players. His 30-point performance at Wisconsin Jan. 29 marked a season high and was the highest point total by a Big Ten player at Kohl Center since Shannon Brown of Michigan State scored 31 on Jan. 8, 2006. Crawford ranks 10th in the Big Ten in scoring (15.5 ppg) and seventh in rebounding (6.6 rpg). He and Michigan State's Adreian Payne are the only Big Ten players to rank in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding.
Active Division I Players with 1,800+ Points, 700+ Rebounds, 200+ 3-Point Field Goals
Name (Team) - Pts. - Reb. - 3-pt FG
Doug McDermott (Creighton) - 3,011 - 1,060 - 258
Torrey Craig (USC Upstate) - 2,114 - 932 - 295
Drew Crawford (Northwestern) - 1,884 - 705 - 227
Redshirt sophomore guard Tre Demps stepped up when the Wildcats needed him in each of their Big Ten victories. With the game tied and seven minutes remaining against Illinois Jan. 12, Demps nailed three consecutive 3-pointers during a 9-2 run that led the 'Cats to the win. Six days later, NU trailed Indiana by three with seven minutes to go when Demps scored the Wildcats' next 13 points during a 13-4 run that keyed another victory. Against Purdue on Jan. 21, Demps scored 11 of his 19 points in the final 3:11 of regulation or the two overtime sessions, including hitting game-tying 3-pointers with 3:11 to go in the second half and 1:36 to go in the first OT. He tallied seven of his 10 points during a decisive 30-9 second-half run that turned a six-point deficit into a 15-point lead at Wisconsin Jan. 29. Three days later with the game at Minnesota tied 52-52, Demps' 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining were the decisive points in a 55-54 NU victory.
BOOST OFF THE BENCH
Tre Demps has provided Northwestern with some scoring punch off the bench so far this season. The redshirt sophomore is averaging 10.9 points per game, including scoring in double figures 20 times. Demps posted a career-best 23-point performance against DePaul Dec. 27. The point total was the highest in a game by a Northwestern player off the bench since Cedric Neloms scored 25 vs. Ohio State on Feb. 10, 1993. Demps tallied a game-high 19 points in his first start of the season Feb. 22 vs. Indiana.
Major Conference Scoring Leaders Among Players Who Have Made Five or Fewer Starts This Season
(courtesy STATS Inc.--through games March 10)
Name (Team) - Avg.
Ian Miller (Florida State) - 13.7
Jason Calliste (Oregon) - 12.5
Michael Dixon Jr. (Memphis) - 12.2
Tre Demps (Northwestern) - 10.9
Zach LaVine (UCLA) - 10.5
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