Our weekly journey across the Large Ten resumes and takes us to Evanston with the Chicago Tribune’s Shannon Ryan breaking down a Northwestern group once more picked to complete within the backside tier of the Large Ten:
Are alarm bells sounding in Evanston or does that 2017 NCAA event look nonetheless purchase Chris Collins goodwill?
The pandemic goes to supply a cushion for nearly all school basketball coaches this season — whether or not they deserve it or not. However even when we weren’t in the midst of a nationwide well being disaster, the place video games will certainly be canceled for a lot of groups, Collins seemingly could be protected. The basketball requirements at Northwestern are low and he reached an historic excessive in 2017. The expectations are low once more this season after a disastrous 2019 so Collins, whose contract runs by means of 2024-25, wants to indicate some progress or promise to fend off these hot-seat questions for upcoming seasons.
Is there one other stage for Miller Kopp to nonetheless attain throughout his profession?
Positively. The 6-foot-7 ahead took main strides final season as a sophomore and was maybe the lone vivid spot for the Wildcats. On a younger group, Kopp was the chief — and that would be the case once more this season. Averaging 13.1 factors per sport and capturing 39.6 % on three-pointers (third within the Large Ten), his consistency was overshadowed by Northwestern’s in any other case detrimental play. He’s started working on the defensive finish and proceed to construct on his scoring. He wants some assist from his teammates too.
What sort of enhance does a wholesome Anthony Gaines add to this group?
Gaines performed in solely 10 video games final season earlier than being sidelined with a shoulder damage. His disappointing begin might be chalked as much as nagging accidents. His contributions have been restricted — even on the defensive aspect the place he brings a ton of vitality. Northwestern desperately may use a dependable scorer, so Gaines’ return might be a lift however he has lots to stay as much as.
Scott Richey is a reporter protecting school basketball at The Information-Gazette. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org, and you may observe him on Twitter (@srrichey).