Nov. 20, 2003
NU-Colorado Game Notes in PDF Format
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EVANSTON, Ill. -
The Northwestern men's basketball team cannot be accused of having a soft schedule in 2003-04.
The Wildcats open up the campaign Friday night, taking on Colorado at 8 p.m. in the second half of a Wildcat basketball doubleheader at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The NU women will meet Creighton at 5 p.m.
For the men, Friday's challenge will be a formidable one. The Buffaloes, out of the Big 12 Conference, come to town with most of their 2002-03 team -- a team that won 20 games and gave Michigan State a scare in the first round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament. Not surprisingly, they are among the teams that received voted in the Associated Press preseason national poll.
"Colorado is a veteran team that has NCAA experience," said NU head coach Bill Carmody. "They have a big guy who is going to have a good shot at playing in the NBA after this season, and a lot of size and athleticism up front.
"When you have an inside presence like they do, it really opens up things outside, and they have the personnel to take advantage of that," he continued. "What impresses me, almost more than their size, is that they are just a good team overall."
Northwestern enters the season coming off a pair of impressive exhibition wins, but Carmody admits there are questions about how they will handle a team that is significantly bigger than the 'Cats.
"We might still be a guy shorter than I would like, in terms of our depth, against teams like this," he said. "It is a lot to ask some of these guys to play a lot of minutes in a lot of games in a short amount of time."
One thing that is not a question, however, is the player's excitement at being presented such challenges.
"The guys are glad to have these games," said Carmody. "I just hope they are still happy about it after we have played a couple of them."
After more than a month of practices and a few exhibitions, Carmody is excited about his team.
"I think that we are a much better passing and shooting team than we have been the last few years," he said. "Everyone in the lineup is a pretty good dribbler, and I think we are more mobile than we have been since I got here. I have seen improvement in almost every guy, but how will that translate to the team as a whole?"
NORTHWESTERN vs. COLORADO
Friday, Nov. 21 ª 8 p.m.
Radio: WGN 720 AM (Dave Eanet, play-by-play; Shon Morris, analyst)
The Series With Colorado
Tonight's game represents the eighth meeting between Northwestern and Colorado, with the Buffaloes leading the series 4-3. However, this is the fourth meeting of the teams in Evanston-one came at Chicago Stadium, and three were in Boulder-and all of the Wildcats wins have come right here in Welsh-Ryan Arena. The teams have not met on the hardwood since the 1968-69 season.
Northwestern vs. The Big 12
The Wildcats enter tonight's game with a 13-22 all-time record against the schools that play in the Big 12 Conference. However, NU is 2-0 under Bill Carmody against the conference-the 'Cats have defeated Kansas State each of the last two seasons.
Iowa State 0-1
Kansas State 2-1
Oklahoma St. 0-0
Texas A&M 1-3
Texas Tech 0-0
Opening at Home
Northwestern is 2-1 in season and home openers under Bill Carmody, but the path to that record is different. In 2001-02-Carmody's second season-the Wildcats began on the road at the BCA Invitational in Raleigh, N.C. with a win over Virginia Commonwealth, then came home to defeat Chicago State in the home opener. NU is 67-31 all-time in season openers and 38-12 in openers at McGaw Hall.
Strength of Schedule
Colorado represents one of three nonconference teams Northwestern will play that received votes in the Associated Press' preseason national poll; the other teams are Arizona State (Dec. 17 in Evanston) and Illinois-Chicago (Dec. 20 in Chicago).
Jumping Right Into It
Northwestern is not messing around when it comes to the start of the season. Tonight's game with Colorado is the first of seven the 'Cats will play between now and Dec. 6-a span of just 15 days-when reading period begins for final exams.
After today's contest, NU is home again Sunday night against Chicago State, then travels to Allstate Arena for its first regular-season meeting with DePaul since 1997. After a brief Thanksgiving respite, NU hosts Northwestern State next Saturday, then it's off to Florida State and a Monday night game as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The run ends with a home game against Bucknell (Wednesday, Dec. 3) and a road trip to Bowling Green (Saturday, Dec. 6).