If there’s one thing that Northwestern Coach Bill Carmody’s teams are known for from a Buckeye perspective, it’s forcing the Buckeyes into some uncomfortable contests. Tonight was no different as the Buckeyes were in very real danger of losing three straight games for the first time in almost four years. But Deshaun Thomas played with a determination late, and the Bucks used a 12-0 run to pull away in the final minute from Northwestern 69-59 in a game that was tied at 57 with three to go.
It starts with the Wildcats’ Princeton-like offense, which is deliberate, patient, and effective. For nearly the entire game, Northwestern ran a set that kept no players in the post for any extended period. Instead, it was essentially a four-across at the foul line from which they can use back cuts, reversals and flash-throughs, and high screens out beyond the three point arc to get clear looks from deep. The look is quite different, but the end game is almost identical to Wisconsin’s. Both three point heavy squads, the Badgers utilize sharp-shooting big men, while Northwestern’s prowess generally lies in their backcourt. The Wildcats weren’t just pulling up from three, however, they were shooting from NBA range and beyond with regularity. After a couple of backdoor plays for easy buckets, it was open season for the Wildcats who started launching from three. Northwestern’s trio of starting guards (Dave Sobolewski, Reggie Hearn, and Tre Demps) each added two treys in the first twenty minutes as the ‘Cats shot 50% in the first half and 6-of-14 from three. [Read more...]