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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

March 16, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Scouting report: Northwestern

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Scouting report: No. 4 Northwestern
Game info: 7 p.m. Friday at Edmundson Pavilion (10,000 capacity)
TV: ESPNU (Roxy Bernstein and Mark Adams.)
Radio: KJR 950 AM and 102.9 FM (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton)
Record: 19-13, 8-10 (7th in Big Ten).
Stats/schedule: Click here.
Game notes: Click here.
Coach: Bill Carmody is 179-190 in 12 seasons with the Wildcats. He posted a 92-25 record during a four-year career at Princeton and is 271-215 in 16 years.
Prediction: Picked to finish eighth in the Big Ten preseason media poll.
Series: Washington leads 5-2 in a series that began in 1951. This is the first since 1975.
Last meeting: The Huskies won 70-57 on Dec. 29, 1975 in the Far West Classic in Portland.
Previous game: Beat No. 5 Akron 76-74 in the NIT opener on Tuesday.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Senior forward John Shurna (right) is Northwestern’s all-time leading scorer and just the 27th player in Big Ten history to score at least 2,000 points. He won the conference scoring title and is fourth in the nation with a 19.9 scoring average. Shurna is the active Big Ten career leader with 43 games of scoring 20 or more points. Shurna has scored at least 30 points in a game three times this season. His season high is 32 points and his career best is 37. He was a consensus first-team All-Big-Ten selection and the first for NU since 2004 (Jitim Young).
At 6-9, Shurna is big enough to shoot over defenders in the post and on the perimeter. He leads the Wildcats in rebounding average (5.4), average minutes (37.4), field goal attempts (480), field goals (222), three-point attempts (209), three-pointers (90), three-point percentage (.431), free throw attempts (137), free throws (103) and blocks 54). He’s tied on NU’s all-time list with 133 blocks.
Lorenzo Romar on Shurna: “He can put the ball on the floor. He can drive you. He can post up. He’s a really good offensive player. With that size there’s just not many guys that matchup well with him at that position. You have to pick your poison. If you have a taller player whose maybe not as quick and maybe not as good as covering on the perimeter, you can put him on one of the 6-3, 6-5 guys who also shoot it well and drive it. It’s a tough scout.”
— Junior forward Drew Crawford is fourth in the Big Ten averaging 16.4 points. He scored a career-high 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting Tuesday against Akron in the NIT opener.


OVERVIEW:
— Romar on Northwestern: “They do have 4-5 shooters on the floor like South Dakota State did and they’re all over the place. They’re not in any one place. They’re not as predictable as some other offenses that you may play against. Most offenses that you play against, you know where they’re going to get their shots from. Those come under the easy-to-scout, hard-to-stop category.
“But Northwestern is different because you have an idea of where they’re shots are going to come from it’s just that they’re all over the place and they’re getting them from a lot of different areas. You play against certain teams, their guards are going to shoot the ball from one or two places. Maybe at the top of the key or on the wing. That’s it. They’re never going to shoot it from the corner and they’re going to get to those places by a certain method. They’re going to get a down screen or a stagger screen. You know that’s where they’re going to get their shots. Northwestern can get their shots from anywhere. Anyone on the floor can get their shots anywhere. That’s what makes it a little more difficult.”
— The Wildcats are making their fourth straight NIT appearance. They were shutout of the NCAA Tournament for the 74 consecutive year.
— According to the Chicago Tribune: “Northwestern — which had the second-highest RPI of teams left out (61) — had less reason to feel snubbed than Oral Roberts, Miami, Nevada and Drexel. They reportedly were the first four out (of the NCAA tourney).”
— Carmody may not return as coach next season. Next year is the last year of his contract and he told the Chicago Sun-Times: “I’ll sit down with my staff and with (athletic director) Jim Phillips, and we’ll just look at everything and see what we can do from a scheduling standpoint that would help us. We talk at the end of the year, and I hope it’s not for a couple of weeks.”
— Carmody blames a soft non-conference schedule for the NCAA tourney snub. Next season the Wildcats play Stanford and Baylor.
— Freshman Dave Sobolewski replaced a star in four-year starter Michael Thompson and has been a pleasant surprise. Sobolewski has started every game at point guard and has committed just 45 turnovers while dishing 117 assists. He scored a career-high 23 points.
— Northwestern leads the Big Ten and ranks fifth nationally with an average of 9.0 three-pointers per game. The Wildcats are 12-4 when they make nine 3-point shots.
— The Wildcats rank third nationally in fewest turnovers averaging just 10 per game.
— NU played 19 of 30 regular-season games against teams that are in the postseason. It has faced nine teams that are in the NCAA tourney and five in the NIT. NU’s strength of schedule ranked 17th in the nation.
— NU plays primarily a six-man rotation. Reserve junior guard Alex Marcotullio averages 20.6 minutes and senior forward Davide Curletti averages 19.1.
STARTING LINEUP:
F – John Shurna, 6-9, Sr., 19.9 ppg., 5.4 rpg., 2.8 apg.
F – Drew Crawford, 6-5, Jr., 16.5, 4.7, 2.1
G – JerShon Cobb, 6-5, So., 7.1, 1.7, 1.0
G – Reggie Hearn, 6-4, Jr., 7.5, 3.7, 1.3
G – Dave Sobolewski, 6-1, Fr., 8.6, 2.6, 3.7
KEY MATCHUP:
— Shurna and Crawford do the bulk of the scoring so slowing them down is obviously important. Expect 6-8 senior forward Darnell Gant to matchup with Shurna because he has the most mobility and a solid grasp of the defensive concepts than any other of Washington’s big men. The Huskies can stick a number of defenders on Crawford, but will likely assign Terrence Ross or C.J. Wilcox to him. The big question – literally and figuratively – is what will Washington do with 7-foot center Aziz N’Diaye. He’s a defensive presence and a potential game-changer, but there’s no obvious opponent for him to defend. Washington could play a lot of zone with N’Diaye. They may also ask him to defend 6-5 Cobb or 6-4 Hearn.

Comments | Topics: C.J. Wilcox, top 25

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