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@GTMBK Non-Conference Preview - Northwestern

Oct. 3, 2014

THE FLATS – Each week up until the beginning of basketball season, Ramblinwreck.com takes a look at an opponent on Georgia Tech’s non-conference schedule. This week, Tech’s ACC-Big Ten Challenge opponent on Dec. 3, Northwestern.

Date: December 3, 2014
Location: Evanston, Ill.
Conference: Big Ten
Home arena: Welsh-Ryan Arena (8,117)
2013-14 Record: 14-19 overall, 6-12 in Big Ten (T-10th place), 125th in NCAA RPI
Post-Season: Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, lost to Michigan State 67-51
NCAA Championship Appearances: 0
All-time series record: Northwestern leads 2-0 (first meeting 11/30/2010)
Head coach: Chris Collins (entering 2nd season, 14-19)
Starters returning/lost: 4/1
Top scorer returning: JerShon Cobb (12.2)
Top rebounder returning: Alex Olah (5.2)

Quick preview for 2014-15

Although Northwestern returns four starters and head coach Chris Collins, now in his second year, the Wildcats lose their most productive player in Drew Crawford. A four-year starter, Crawford finished as Northwestern’s second all-time scorer (1,920) and holds the record for most games played (143) and started (142). But with Crawford gone, Coach Collins will have to find a new source for points. Senior guard JerShon Cobb figures to be the top candidate after boosting his points per game by a full five points as a junior and leading the team in three-point shooting at 35.2 percent. In the paint, seven-foot 270-pound Alex Onah anchors the Wildcat frontcourt after shooting above 50 percent in his sophomore season.

Quick recap of 2013-14

The 2013-14 season was a year of transition for Northwestern basketball. The team welcomed first-year head coach Chris Collins and his motion-based offense. The results weren’t pretty. The Wildcats’ 59.5 points per game average was the third lowest in all of division-1 basketball and the worst in major conferences – even with the help of Drew Crawford. That being said Northwestern did display glimpses of their potential in wins over ranked foes Illinois and Wisconsin. In the Wildcats’ victory in Madison, they held the #14 Badgers to 26.3-percent shooting from the field and handed Wisconsin just its 20th home loss in the last 13 years. Of note to Georgia Tech fans, Northwestern fell to NC State 69-48 in Raleigh last year in their Big Ten/ACC challenge matchup – dropping their all-time challenge record to 6-9.

Greatest program accomplishment

1931 Big Ten Championship – Although the Northwestern basketball program has never participated in the NCAA tournament in the event’s 76-year history, the Wildcats have won two Big Ten titles – its first in 1931. Northwestern’s final record of 16-1 is still the best in program history with the lone loss coming to Illinois 35-28. All-American center Joseph Reiff starred for the Purple and White while leading the Big Ten in scoring as just a sophomore. At the helm, Naismith Hall of Fame coach Arthur C. “Dutch” Lonborg coached his best team in his 23-year career in Evanston.

Greatest player in program history

Joseph Reiff – At 6-foot-3 Joseph Reiff would have been a wing if not a guard in today’s college basketball realm, but in the early 1930’s Reiff was a two time All-American at center. Reiff and his imposing presence led the Wildcats to two Big Ten Championships in three years and two Big Ten scoring titles. In fact the only other Big Ten scoring champion during Reiff’s three year career was none other than Purdue guard, John Wooden. In 1984 Reiff was inducted as a charter member of the Northwestern Athletics Hall of Fame as a part of its inaugural class.

Place to visit on campus or in the city

Patten Gymnasium – Following a generous donation from Evanston’s mayor James Patton, Northwestern University opened Patten Gymnasium in 1910. The gym was home to the Northwestern men’s basketball team for 30 years and featured two baseball diamonds, a swimming pool and an auditorium that seated thousands. In 1939 Patten Gym played host to the first-ever NCAA Championship game between the University of Oregon and the Ohio State University. The gym was demolished in 1940, but was rebuilt that same year and still stands today as a recognized historical structure.

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