BKB Pregame Intel: Northwestern Wildcats

Got to Hold on To the Ball! [AP]

The Purple Reign pregame intel analysts turn their gaze inward today - looking at how the Northwestern Wildcats have played so far, putting them in our Pregame Intel "Cat"egories, looking at things that are positive, and things that need work over this Thanksgiving weekend, as we lead up to Saturday's game with the Blue Demons of DePaul...

Lets take a Purple Reign Pregame Intel Look at us:
At least one Purple Board Poster was really upset after the first game [the win over Lehigh]:
We played a 7 man rotation and as usual, we got hammered on the glass. We shot lousy from the field and were 12 seconds away from losing to a so-so Lehigh team.
OK, the Cats have now played 4 games, we're 3-1 and Bill Carmody has said there's lots to work on in practice.

But there are some high spots:
  • Vedran Vukusic is playing like a 5th year senior, scoring over 20 points in each of the 4 games, and even grabbing rebounds
  • the Cats have actually out rebounded our opponents so far, 121-116.
  • The Cats have a veteran team, with  Vukusic, Tim Doyle and Mohamed Hachad leading the team in scoring, and rebounding
But the backcourt play left Bill Carmody wishing that one of the missing seniors was still on the floor for the Cats:
where's that guy Parker, that guy Parker, you know we miss him but we could have used him out there because we didn't get much leadership or ball handling from the guys who were in there. - [WGN Postgame]
Carmody also talked about Tim Doyle's passing, saying that he had "a little too much courage."  Doyle has made some nifty assists in traffic, but sometimes he gets a little too "cute" with his passing, and that leads to turnovers.

While you want pinpoint accuracy in your passing, something Doyle is known for at times, you also need to have a cutter that will work against a zone, and a 3 point shot that drops.

In the words of another one of our Purple Board posters, analyzing the FAU game from the stands...
Turnovers and missed free throws. Our rebounding was good but we had a huge height advantage. We just had a poor game passing and holding on to the ball.

Doyle is MUCH improved.

Hachad and Jenkins both had sub-poor games. BC laid into both of them a number of times.

Moore and Williams both looked good.

Cote has a good outside shot but looks a little soft inside. Scott also played well and the extra pounds will help him in BT play.

What can you say about VV. He scored early and late to ice it for NU.

Overall, I was impressed with how well the team ran the offense and how well they played defense. But we need to take care of the ball and make our FT's. We let them back in the game in the last 5 minutes when we should have put them away.

Time will tell if we have enough horses to make it to post-season
. [Bondscoop07 on the Purple Boards]
So we'll leave our final analysis to one of our resident roundball gurus, Greg Kane - writing after the BCA tournament...:
While execution wasn't perfect, the team played with an energy that has been lacking early in seasons past. These guys really want to win. After the UNCW game, the guys had to stay on the court for the trophy ceremony.

Vukusic looked miserable receiveing the 1st team All-Tournament trophy. The whole team looked like they'd just lost the Super Bowl.

I suspect that the team and coaches learned a lot in Laramie. I'm excited to see things move forward from here. If the 'Cats can continue to play good defense, play hard, make foul shots (71% in Laramie) and so on, good things will happen. Offensive improvement will come.

Based on what I saw, I think that three or fewer OOC losses is an attainable goal.
And the last word? From the Coach:
I was disappointed in our back court., you know, the older guys and so we have an awful lot to work on.
  • Vedran Vukusic's play
  • Tim Doyle, when his passing is on
  • Vince Scott
  • Craig Moore and Sterling Williams seem to be the real deal off the bench right now.
  • Opponents Assist to Turnover ratio is good, 53 turnovers to 37 assists for the other guys.
  • We're playing up to 10 players a game - instead of the usual 6 or 7.
  • Where's the Backcourt? the two frosh - Craig Moore and Sterling Williams played a decent game Monday but, man do we miss shots.
  • The Cats have troubles breaking a zone - Shon Morris noted Monday that the Cats seem to stand around when the other team drops into a zone defense
  • Turnovers - over 14 per game. BC likes it under 10

Coach Roy's Purple Reign 'Cat'egories:

The Big Gun #11 Vedran Vukusic [Sr 6-8]
25.8 ppg
Deadeye Dick Vukusic
59.6 FG Avg
The Bomber Vukusic
24 3 pointers
Off the Boards #14 Mohamed Hachad
[Sr 6-4]
6.3 rpg
Charity Stripe #00 Tim Doyle* [Jr 6-5]
Shooting 82.4%
Super Sub Moore
10 minutes/game
as a sub
Pickpocket Hachad
7 Steals
Helping Hands Doyle
23 Assists
Mr. Defense
#52 Vince Scott
[Jr 6-10]
3 Blocks/13 Def Rebounds**

* Two of the subs have perfect 2-2 FT records, Craig Moore and Bernard Cote`
** Mike thompson aslo has 3 blocks - Hachad has 22 defensive boards.

Expected Starters

Forward #11 Vedran Vukusic [6-8 Sr]
#00 Tim Doyle [6-5 Jr]
#3 Mike Thompson [6-10 Sr]
Guard # 14 Mohamed Hachad [6-4 Sr]
# 5 Michael Jenkins [5-9 GS]

Totals: 48.8

Vince Scott started the last game, Evan Seacat started the first 3 at PG.

Off the Bench
[Have Played in most games, or Avging 9+ mins]:

Minutes PPG RPG
Forward #12 Bernard Cote` [6-8 Jr]
#52 Vince Scott* [6-10 Jr]
Guard #20 Craig Moore [6-4 Fr]
#24 Evan Seacat* [6-2 Sr]
#32 Sterling Williams [6-4 Fr]

Totals: 12.2
* Started first 3 games, Vince Scott started the last game.

Challenges for the Wildcats:
  • Start to make 3 pointers - the Cats missed 10 from outside the arc Monday - that zone would have collapsed had we mad a few of them...
  • Get Mike Thompson going - He can be overpowering in the low post, and he's shown signs of playing well outside too.
  • Everybody has to make free throws - right now we're hitting 68%, 3 starters are shooting over 75%, but  we have a couple of guys who could produce if they can stay in during crunch time.
  • Keep up your enthusiasim -
  • Keep Moving against the zone - we can't rely on one or two guys to pop a 3 right now to open up the middle.

Game Starts at 9 PM - Wildcat Time

Radio: WGN, with Dave Eanet and Shon Morris, and NUSports
Gametracker: NU Sports

You can Chat in the NEW Free Chat room

Statistics from the Northwestern official site
You can send your comments or "back door" information
to Coach Roy
or on AIM: CoachRoy74
Go Cats
Beat 'em All!
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