Sunday, December 7, 2014

A-rank Northwestern

Northwestern is my last team to watch play as it took a while to get some TV games. They won't be on TV much anymore for good reason. This team will compete with Rutgers to be the worst team in the Big Ten. They have 6 guys that get regular minutes, and then it gets crazy. In their last 2 games that were both close losses they went 11 and 12 players deep. A lot of the guys getting run are freshman, so this may benefit them down the road to get these guys some meaningful experience. I would normally say playing that many guys is stupid, but maybe Collins is just trying to find anyone that can play as the regulars are pretty bad.

Olah is the leading scorer and has been the best player so far. The junior is big but not very mobile, and can't help much on defense. He uses his size against smaller players inside, but won't be able to do so against better players. He does have an outside game as well and is shooting 47%FG. He is a capable rebounder on the defensive end with his size. Sophomore Lumpkin and is playing out of position for necessity. He would be better off at the 3 but NW needs to get his athleticism and their best guys on the court. He rebounds OK despite his smaller size, but will struggle there once Big Ten play starts. He is the only NW regular shooting over 50%. NW has 3 backup front court players in sophomore Taphorn, freshman Skelly, and senior Kreisberg that are all just minute eaters.

NW has played 3 players at the point but freshman McIntosh is the key guy. He started at the point until @Butler before coming off the bench in that game, but still played most of the game and leads the team in minutes. He is averaging 5apg, but also 2.5 TO/game, and is 2nd in FGA while shooting just 35%. That seems like a lot of usage for a player that isn't very productive until you look at how awful the rest of the guards are. Senior Sobolewski plays limited backup minutes although he got a start @Butler and played 15 minutes. He is shooting 33%FG which is actually better than the 26% he shot last year. Vasser has played very limited backup minutes and probably won't play much the rest of the year.

NW has 2 upperclassmen guards in Demps and Cobb who they need to score to win consistently. Neither is able to do that which is why NW continues to lose. Junior Demps came off the bench until @Butler but plays starter minutes. He is only shooting 34%FG, so NW might hope he can't keep shooting that poorly, except that he shot just 38% his first 2 seasons so it is probably a career long problem. Senior Cobb is even worse shooting just 29%FG and is just a 41% career shooter. Freshman Law is the 6th regular and is larger at 6'7" but very slight. He helps out the front court and is 2nd in rebounding, but is also not shooting very well at 38%FG. Freshman Lindsey has got some backup minutes and may get more as the season goes on if the veterans continue to struggle.

This team was terrible offensively last year and should be no better this year. They are currently shooting 40%FG as a team which is 290th in the country against poor competition. They will slow down the pace to limit possessions and will win a few games when they get lucky and hit some shots. NW seems to have some sort of weird magic as they always seem to pull off a road game upset despite not being very good. I don't think they win as many games as last season without Crawford to help the offense.

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