Let's just get this out there: I'm never going to pass on the chance to work 80's hair band videos into my posts.
I mentioned in the LSU post-game that I was worried about where the points were going to come from once teams wised up a bit and started to shut down Shurna. These fears may’ve been, um, misplaced.
With Shurna guarded closely for most of the game against Tulsa, Drew Crawford shredded the Golden Hurricanes’ defense with 28 points, as the Cats advanced to the Charleston Classic final, 69-65. Beginning with the second half on Thursday, Crawford’s now put together a solid 60 straight minutes of lights-out basketball, and showed that although Shurna is the team’s “star,” Crawford may have even greater potential. Games like this should only further increase his confidence and aggressiveness on the court.
Shurna was much more quiet on Friday, with 17 points, but much of that was due to being the constant focus of Tulsa’s D. Cobb looks ready to start turning things on, and as he works back from his hip injury, he could be a deadly weapon by the time we get to conference play. Sobo’s comfort with the system is growing faster than India’s population right now, with the next big step being him taking more of a shooting role. Reggie Mother-Fucking Hearn was impressive once again, scoring 4 points and pulling down three rebounds. In reality, RMFH should have had at least two more boards, but was unable to control them. Now that he’s getting real minutes, Hearn should put in some work around the boards to improve his form and strength, to avoid careless lost opportunities.
So far, Marco’s minutes have really dropped off in this tournament, while Demps has yet to see the floor. Marco may still be slowed by his bum ankle, but a quick scour of the interwebs hasn’t shed any light on the issue with Demps. I’m sure more will be revealed on that front in the next week or so.
Yet again, play from the center position was the biggest concern. While Mirk and Curletti combined for 10 points, they pulled down only 2 rebounds in total…you know, fewer than 6’4” walk-on Reggie Mother-Fucking Hearn. There’s only so much one can write about the frustration at watching our big men play, but we’ll state the obvious: Northwestern won’t be a tourney team without improved play at the 5 spot. Simple as that.
The Tulsa win was huge for Northwestern, propelling them to 3-0 and showing that we can hang with (possible) bubble teams. The Cats utilized the 1-3-1 less frequently than in the LSU match-up, but overall showed improvement on D. Having Hearn, Crawford and Cobb on the floor at once gives Northwestern a great defensive look . Next up, the Cats will play Seton Hall Sunday night for the championship. In theory, it should be an easier match-up than Tulsa, but the day we assume a win is the day you know we’ll start a losing streak. Til then, Go Cats!