NU Seniors Focused On Must-Win Game
Photo Credit: Tommy Giglio/US Presswire
Photo Credit: Tommy Giglio/US Presswire Publisher
Posted Feb 29, 2012

Northwestern's four seniors will be honored in an emotional pregame ceremony on their Senior Night. Shortly after, the Wildcats will battle with No. 10 Ohio State in what has been billed as the program's most important game ever. The NU seniors are focused on earning a key win on their big night.

Nick Fruendt is excited to host his parents, sistsers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends for Senior Night at Welsh-Ryan Arena. It will surely be a special night for the Batavia product. However, the emotions of his final game at Northwestern are the least of his concerns.

"It will be really cool, a lot of great memories here, but I'm mostly just excited for the game," said Fruendt, one of Northwestern's four seniors.

Prior to tipoff, Wildcat fans will give a salute to the program's winngest senior class. Shortly after, Northwestern will battle in what is the program's most important game ever.

In all likelihood, the Wildcats could secure their seed in the NCAA Tournament with a win over No. 10 Ohio State. A loss, however, would be yet another missed opportunity to boost their tournament credentials.

"It's the last home game, but we're coming in hungry," said senior forward John Shurna, who will host a large contingency of family and friends. "It's a big game for both teams. There's a lot on the line. We have to stay focused and prepare for this game."

Shurna, especially, will have to adjust quickly. During the pregame ceremony, he will be standing side-by-side with his parents and family members. Once the game starts, he will be locked up with Jared Sullinger, one of the nation's most physical big men.

"Obviously, it's two different style of play," Shurna said of the 280-pound Sullinger. "He's got a couple pounds on me."

Northwestern's seniors have been a part of three consecutive postseason appearances -- a school record -- and have helped the program reach a consistent level of winning.

Through all of the success, the Wildcat seniors still have one goal to accomplish, a hill which has never been climbed in NU history. Reaching the Big Dance.

"It's crazy how four years, and it all comes down to two weeks," Fruendt said. "We're in a good spot, we know that we got to protect home court, and it's a great opportunity for us. If we just give a huge effort, it can be done."

In their last home game at Welsh-Ryan Arena, Northwestern's historic senior class hopes to treat the Wildcat faithful to a special night.

Senior forward Davide Curletti said: "Hopefully, we can give them something to remember us by."

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college football, college basketball and college baseball for Fox Sports & since 2009. He served as a writer for Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics, and is now the Publisher of, covering the Northwestern Wildcats.
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