Upon Further Review, Plus Hearn Out For Michigan (Joining A Slew Of Others)

There isn’t a whole lot of good news going on in Northwestern basketball circles. Reggie Hearn is out for tonight’s game against Michigan joining a laundry list of players who are already out (Cobb, Crawford, Cerina, Lumpkin) and ones that are still playing injured (Marcotullio).  It really is unbelievable. So, we’ll talk hoops in a moment, but let’s get to some happy thoughts, first.

With all of the Gator Bowl postgame commentary, there were several items I overlooked and feel compelled to mention. In no particular order:

  • Northwestern Alumni Association tailgate – In a word, it was stunning. Nearly 1,000 people crammed the floor of the basketball arena adjacent to EverBank Field.  The overhead scoreboard was Northwestern-ized and featured highlights constantly along with playing a role in the impact of the lakefront facility as they featured a 3-minute video to inspire the fans and potential donors. The ribbonboards were purple with “Northwestern Wildcats” signage and vertical banners featuring several players and Fitz hung from the ceiling and added a great touch.  The spread was downright silly with a coffee and juice station that was the biggest I’ve ever seen and mutliple food stations with anything you could want. It was the best one I’ve seen yet. Congratulations to all involved.

 

  • NGN Tailgate – many fans I met raved about how fantastic this tailgate was. I heard there were about 400-500 people and they had screens set-up with the games and all kinds of food and beverage. I didn’t get to attend as I didn’t know about it, but it got RAVE reviews from everyone that told me about it.

 

  • EverBank Field Hospitality – The folks working the event could not have been nicer.  They were everywhere and extremely friendly and courteous. When we won and the fans exited hooting and hollering they egged us on and were even nicer.

 

  • Mississippi State fans – Wow. I don’t think I’ve met a more courteous group of folks, especially after a game that we won. It was downright incredible how many maroon clad fans congratulated us and said “you deserved it” and the like. I was extremely impressed and am confident that many of you had the same experience.

 

  • Jim Phillips without a tie – Yes, I saw it, with my own two eyes. After the game our AD was back at the Hyatt and soaking in the win with Morty, family and friends and he was wearing a Northwestern sweatshirt.  I told him it was the very first time I’d seen him without a tie. Moments before, being the class act that he is, he grabbed me by the shoulders and said “this win was for you and every fan like you who has supported us so passionately”.  He was emotional about it and so was I.

Media Pick-Up

Rodger Sherman from SippinOnPurple did a neat “multimedia” lens on NU in the wake of our win featuring front page headlines, recaps and the like which you can see here. It includes ESPN clips, YouTube videos and even a neat screen grab showing Northwestern was trending on Twitter at the end of the game.

When you end a 63-year streak in anything it gets you all kinds of national ink. When you are the lone winner for the conference on New Year’s Eve it also gets you some attention. Here are a few of them:

Send me more as I’m sure they are still floating out there!

Northwestern (9-4) vs #2 Michigan (12-0) – Tonight 6pm ct ESPN2

A win by Northwestern tonight and Carmody should get a contract extension. The ‘Cats don’t really have much of a prayer now that Reggie Hearn will be added to the DNP-INJ list. Hearn tweaked his ankle in the Stanford game and has yet to practice since. Sanjay Lumpkin is now out for the year with a wrist injury and Nikola Cerina (medical redshirt please?) is still out injured as he has been since game one. The ‘Cats are running out of bodies with Drew Crawford and JerShonn Cobb already out for the year.

Northwestern has lost 41 straight against top five teams dating all the way back to the incredible win over Magic Johnson’s national championship team in 1979. Michigan is off to the program’s second best start in school history and simply has too much manpower with three future NBA players likely having significant mismatches when they go head to head. Northwestern plays five of its first seven games against Top 11 teams and by that point we could be in really big trouble.

 

  • zeek

    http://www.dodgeglobe.com/article/20130101/NEWS/130109986/1020/SPORTS

    Reposting this. It’s an article profiling one of our main fundraisers for athletics:

    Talks of raising $300 million+ for athletics (that’s $80 million over the $220 million for the Fieldhouse, other projects in the works?) and mentions the multi-billion dollar campaign that should be launched soon. No doubt the $300 million for athletics will be rolled into that in some fashion.

    Not sure there’s a better time to roll out Schapiro’s signature fundraising campaign than the next half year or so…

    • http://twitter.com/LakeThePosts Lake The Posts

      Thanks for sharing. I’ve met Travis several times. He’s a get-it-done guy. Going to be interesting to see what happens to WR and Ryan Field once we get the $220M

      • Cliff Garstang

        Fitz has hinted in a post-Gator interview at another big announcement coming soon, so there may yet be news on that front.

  • Catatonic Joe

    I know you mentioned the other day the crowd roaring at the end of the game, but this game had the most consistent noise I have heard from our crowd when NU was on defense. It was a pleasure to hear our crowd. I hope we keep this up at our home games.

    • CM

      Agreed. There were no “down in front” cries to be heard. From goal-line to goal-line, our “purple people” were loud, energetic, and on their feet consistently. Go us!!!

      • NUMBalumDave

        Oh, lordy, CM, thanks for bringing up that nasty memory. I’ve been yelled at for singing “Go, U!” for criminy sakes. Thankfully, those days seem to be gone, long gone.

        • BrianBoru

          +10

          Sheesh. At Homecoming this year, a woman complained I was “standing up willy nilly and blocking her view. I guess she didn’t a understand what 3rd down meant.

        • http://www.facebook.com/prossmanreich Philip Rossman-Reich

          Yuck, that is disgusting. Not allowed to sing the fight song at a game? Why even go to a college football game? There is a perfectly good park in Evanston like two blocks away!

      • http://www.facebook.com/prossmanreich Philip Rossman-Reich

        I felt kind of bad about standing (first time not sitting with students, who stand all the time period). But when I saw Fitz urging the crowd to get up on third down, I said to myself, ‘Fitz is telling us to stand, let’s stand.’ The people behind us were fine with it and the rest is history.

        Did anyone else notice the student section? If it was where I thought it was, it seemed horribly small.

    • cece

      +1 Crowd was awesome.

  • Chasmo

    Northwestern’s basketball program is cursed. Can there be any other explanation? A team that once seemed certain to play in its fifth straight NIT tournament now seems certain to battle Nebraska and Penn State for last place.
    Winning coaches come to NU and lose.
    High level recruits come to NU and get hurt.
    Lower level recruits come to NU, become good, and then transfer or quit.
    Next fall, with both Cobb and Crawford back, with Demps, Abrahamson, Olah, and Turner returning as sophomores with tons of (losing) Big Ten experience, and with a highly rated point guard from New Jersey joining the team, NU basketball fans once again will dream of 20 or more wins and a NCAA tournament bid.

    And then something really bad will happen once again.

    • Icehockeycat

      How’s the women’s team doing? Looks like I will be following women’s bouncy ball to get my winter fix. Hopefully the NHL come back on-line…

    • exMMSSer

      It appears that the AIRBHG becomes an NUBHG during the winter.

    • NUMBalumDave

      Waaay back in the day we would speculate that the roundball team would make the NCAA long before the football team went to a bowl game. “It’s easier to turn a basketball program around,” went the thinking.

      Right, big Northwestern brains workin’ there. Were we wrong!

    • http://www.facebook.com/prossmanreich Philip Rossman-Reich

      Not going to lie. I got the feeling when Drew Crawford got hurt that Jim Phillips had sold the basketball season to the devil for a bowl win. I think I am OK with it… for now.

  • PurpleHayes

    Have been offline while in Jacksonville, but thoroughly enjoyed catching up. Along with seeing the Wildcats take the field in Pasadena, this win has to rank as one of the cathartic moments in NU sports history, and we enjoyed every aspect thoroughly. So much, that even though I’m the only one likely to care, I’m retiring my “Watching and (Mostly) Waiting” moniker. Although the NCAA monkey is going to remain firmly in place for a while, that longest of waits–64 years for that bowl win–ended gloriously on Tuesday. No more grainy black-n-white film, no more constant reminder on the ESPN scroll. As a result, heretofore, “W&(M)W” is now “PurpleHayes”. Go Cats!

  • NUMBalumDave

    There were many discussions among the fans we met about what to expect from the future of football. Many agreed that at first it was good enough to just be competitive. Then it was good enough to go to bowl games. Now, a win makes us happy. Fitz expects more – a national title! – and wants US to expect more. I just hope and pray that we never expect that at the expense of fair play and recruiting athletes who are NU students. I can be optimistic, though, because it’s Fitz leading the way.

    So, next step is Indianapolis!

    • Catatonic Joe

      Make sure you have time off from work saved up next year to travel to Indy AND Pasadena.

    • zeek

      I think for now the goal should be consistency.

      I don’t think we’re in a rush; things are progressing pretty well right now.

      You want to have a string of 9-10 win seasons (and some bowl victories) and then try to push for the 11-12 win season mark.

      The good news is that we don’t look like a program that’s anywhere near peaking at 10-3 this year, which most pegged as a rebuilding year.

      But consistency should be the main goal for now; continuing to increase the talent base through pipelines in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, etc. as the facilities plan comes to fruition.

      If Fitz could have a career arc like Beamer or Bill Snyder that’d be incredible for the long-term fortunes of the program.

      • bandcat

        Agree 1 thru 5….Hope Fitz’s career arc over shadows the likes of Knute Rockne from that SISB. That really would be incredible for the long-term fortunes of the program.

    • cece

      goal should always be to fill the stands, at home and at a bowl game. some might be satisfied with the win coming after so long and may stay away from a bowl game. attitude must be, NU football, it’s what we do!!!!!

  • WildcatSteve

    Hello Little Falls Minnesota and a overjoyed WILCAT fan. I am so pumped about this team…I can’t wait until next year. I will be there to watch the Wildcats anniliate the rodents from Minnesota. Congrats to To coach Fitz and the team. Indy and Pasadena next year!

  • NUMBalum95

    Today I was driving back to Kansas from my holidays in Phoenix (was unable to go to the bowl game). I was wearing a NU sweatshirt, and when I stopped for gas outside of Wichita, the guy next to me said, “Congrats on the bowl win. You guys have a great team.” National attention and national perception of the program is definitely on the upswing.

  • bandcat

    Yikes….this is going to be even more painful than i imagined. May have to start the painkillers during the warm ups…….The Glow from the Gator Bowl win will have to carry us through to Groundhog day….we cannot catch a break…Hardaway has to get healthy in time to play a decimated NU squad…

  • LondonCat04

    This will be long-winded, but it’s a nice story regarding Mississippi State fans:

    My friend and I didn’t have tickets to the Budweiser tailgate (we were tailgating with my family instead), so we were outside the fence singing along with NUMB so loudly that two Mississippi State fans heard us a good 30 feet away. They kept motioning us to come in, which of course without tickets, we couldn’t.
    Wednesday afternoon my family and I stopped at a Jacksonville Beach on the way out and bumped into a couple of Mississippi State fans who saw my Northwestern t-shirt. After congratulating us on a “well-deserved win”, they were very complimentary of our coaching, academics, and overall program, and told me how much they enjoyed watching the band and the enthusiasm of the fans. They then continued to tell me that they’d felt badly at the Bud tailgate because as they were watching NUMB, they saw two women standing by the fence cheering their hearts out for NU and had tried to motion them in because they had 2 spare tickets they wanted to give! Small world, huh? Lovely couple, right down to the lady’s white and purple New Balance shoes, which I obviously had to point out were “Northwestern” shoes.

    Time to watch the highlights (again)! Go ‘Cats!

    • Icehockeycat

      Went to my kids hockey game. Opposing team’s parents saw my Northwestern jacket and offered me free coffee. Coach comes up to me and says he wants to run the hockey program like how Fitz runs NU’s football program – this coming from a guy from Michigan.

      Perceptions are definitely on the change – the program is no longer just respected but now being emulated and a model of what a sports program should look like.

    • CatInTheHat

      That is great to hear. I have to second and third your and LTP’s sentiments regarding the Mississippi State fans. They could not have been more gracious, both before the game and especially in defeat. Not one maroon-clad person I encountered–even if they were just walking the opposite direction after the game or that evening in Jacksonville–failed to congratulate me, with many gushing about our program, about Fitz, and most satisfying to me, about how friendly and gracious our fans had been to them in victory (thank goodness, as they deserve all of the respect we could possibly give them, too). I actually received hugs and pats on the back from multiple Mississippi State fans, and that has to be a first for fans of any team that we just defeated. The entire experience from pregame tailgate to leaving Jacksonville yesterday afternoon (when the flight attendant saw my NU sweatshirt and congratulated me over and over again, going on and on about how her planes had been filled with purple this week) was pure joy.

  • WildcatSteve

    Again from Little Falls, Mn. Still PUMPED over bowl victory and I’m 56! Can’t wait for next year! Heard Fitz on WGN at halftime of bb game, said that h.s coaches AND players were calling him with congratulations. Sounds to me like potential recruits are not just being recruited but now they want to go to NU! I’m excited about the fundraising hiring of kid from 2lane (who wants to work for a highway school anyway), sound slike he’s a go getter! Question we’re big up here on college hockey, any word on the CATS moving into D1 hockey and playing in the BIG in the near future?

  • Nate