Dave Sobolewski has fond memories of the Big Ten Tournament. As a child, he attended the games with family and friends when it was hosted in Chicago.
"It was always fun, I always looked forward to going," Sobolewski said of the conference tournament. "There's a lot of good teams, a lot of good games."
Sobolewski will return to the tournament, but this time, in a Northwestern uniform. With his family and friends watching, he hopes to make more memories.
"I'm really excited to play in it," said Sobolewski. "It's a couple fun days of basketball. It will definitely be a good experience."
During NU's appearance in the Big Ten Tournament last year, Sobolewski watched on television as Juice Thompson posted a tournament-record 35 points, carrying the Wildcats to a first-round win over Minnesota. However, that victory has little postseason significance.
Unlike last season, and years before, this Northwestern squad has a legitimate -- and strong -- chance to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament with a strong showing in Indianapolis.
"We can't wait for the opportunity we have this weekend," Sobolewski said. "We don't know what it takes to get in. Obviously, nobody really knows. We're going to enter every game expecting to win, we're going to go out there and give it our all, and hopefully, get that chance to play in the NCAA Tournament."
The Wildcats drew Minnesota in the first round, the fourth time in five years which they will face the Gophers in the conference tournament.
The two teams split the regular-season contests, each team winning in convincing fashion. Sobolewski expects a challenge in the rubber match with the familiar foe.
"The two games we played with them have been so completely different," Sobolewski pointed out. "I think both teams will come in hungry looking for a win. We're going to play as hard as we can and hopeully get out of there with a win."
Sobolewski is ready to make more memories at the Big Ten Tournament. With a few critical wins, Wildcat fans will have made some memories, too. The freshman is keeping a level head as his team faces a great task.
"We're going to enter this tournament like it's just another game that we're scouting," he said. "In our minds, it's just another game. But we'll come ready to play."