The only private school in the Big Ten, Northwestern is used to struggling in basketball. The Wildcats were a Big Ten joke for years, a predictable win for just about everyone. Seven or eight win seasons were common.
Former Duke star and assistant coach Chris Collins managed to get Northwestern to the NCAA Tournament a few years ago for the very first time which was a huge deal. Keep in mind that the tournament was started in 1939. It took awhile.
Since then, Northwestern has fallen back to its historical level of mediocrity, leading to speculation about Collins’ future there.
That may be on pause for now.
The Wildcats are currently 6-1 and after beating #4 Michigan State recently, knocked off #23 Ohio State Saturday and sit alone atop the Big Ten standings. Now there’s an excellent chance this team is ranked on Monday.
There’s a brutal stretch coming up with five ranked opponents in a row: Iowa, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio State and Iowa again.
We’ll know a lot more about this team after those games, but so far? Collins is doing a great job and could end up the Big Ten Coach of the Year.