Wow. How is your Sunday going? If you’re a Northwestern fan – not good. After confirming the expected bubble bursting for the NCAA Tournament, most of us diehards expected a top two seed in the NIT. Erhhhhhhh! Northwestern got a 4-seed against the Akron Zips of the MAC in a Tuesday night match-up at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Should the ‘Cats beat one of the better 3-point shooting defenses out there (uh-oh), we then get to return to the very same state that ended our season last year when we lost to Washington State in the NIT quarterfinals. This time, we’d be playing the Pac 12 regular season champs, Washington, who were also left out of the Big Dance.
If you believed what you read ad nauseum in Bracketology over the past week then some of the seedings were perplexing at best. Drexel gets a 3-seed while Seton Hall gets a 1-seed. NITology is no Joe Lunardi as even someone dedicated to predicting this was way off having teams like Illinois (he projected a 5-seed) not even get selected. He had NU as a 2-seed and didn’t have Illinois State even in the consolation tournament.
Whatever, it’s the NIT. What becomes very interesting here is whether or not an early exit will impact Jim Phillips’ decision on our coach’s future. I had thought a 2-seed at worst, which would get us on track to at least repeat what we did last year with a solid chance at making it to New York. Now, if we should lose to an Akron in the opening round – at home no less – it could change things.
Tonight’s NIT selection show just evoked a series of “huh?!!” moments from me, but NU will have a chance to make their statement on the court. Let’s just hope we’re working on the final three minutes of close game situations as we speak. Stay tuned for more on the Zips.