High Demands Illustrate Different Times

Photo Credit: Tommy Giglio/US Presswire

Die-hard Northwestern fans aren't satisfied with the basketball program's most recent NCAA tournament miss, and are pleading for change. The disappointment is a sign of different times in Evanston. The bar has been raised and Wildcat fans are demanding success. That's a good thing.

Northwestern fans aren't satisfied with the basketball program's current state.

Need evidence? See the 5,798 empty seats at Welsh-Ryan Arena for the Wildcats' first-round NIT game. It wasn't the tournament; it was just the NIT. It was NU's fourth consecutive postseason appearance, a program record, but that's not enough for die-hard Wildcat fans.

The bar has been raised.

NU's infamous streak of missed tournaments has reached 74 years, and many fans are calling for change at the head-coaching position. Sure, Bill Carmody has helped the program reach a stable level of success, but it hasn't been enough to reach the Big Dance.

That's not enough for Wildcat fans anymore, and that's a good thing. It's healthy.

Purple-bleeding Wildcat fans aren't making excuses, don't want to settle, and shouldn't. It's possible to make the NCAA tournament at Northwestern. This Wildcat team was a win or two away from doing it.

Northwestern has proven it can fight with any team in the country. Just ask Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, and Indiana, among others.

UM head coach John Beilein said after the Wolverines edged Northwestern in overtime, "This isn't your grandfather's Northwestern." True statement.

The dark ages of Northwestern are in the past, for all of its programs. The football team has played in a bowl game for the past four years, and the basketball program has become a consistent winner.

Times have changed, indeed. Michael Thompson and John Shurna have made Northwestern basketball relevant for all the right reasons. However, it's not been enough to take that next step.

Carmody's future will be decided by athletic director Jim Phillips, while fans questions whether he deserves a 13th season. Will Carmody be decided by his successes or failures?

It's healthy for NU fans to question Carmody, and to plead for change. This is what happens when you're sick of settling.

This isn't your grandfather's Northwestern anymore. Times have changed, and the bar has been raised.

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