Penn State and Northwestern will rematch tonight in the friendly, empty-seated, confines of the Bryce Jordan Center (9:00 PM ET, BTN). Here to give us a breakdown on all things Northwestern basketball, is SB Nation's Northwestern blogger, Rodger Sherman from Sippin' On Purple. How will Rodger cope with a post-John Shurna world? What went horribly awry during the court remodeling process at Welsh-Ryan Arena? These answers and more, if you read on...
1. If there's one thing Penn State and Northwestern basketball fans share, it's a Mel Gibson-like fetish for torture. How did your Northwestern hoops fandom take root?
Like most Northwestern fans, I wasn't a Northwestern fan until coming to school here - I'm from New York and am a die-hard Knicks fan, but never paid attention to college hoops except a passing interest in the Big East Tourney and running my high school's NCAA tourney gambling ring. So as a senior in college, I've been a Northwestern fan for 4.5 years (not a full five was because I was convinced I wasn't going to get accepted).
2. Allow me to express my disappointment over Northwestern's OT loss to Michigan. I was hoping that Penn State would be the team to once again stomp on their NCAA Tournament dreams. Seriously though, why is Northwestern basketball still waiting to lose its Big Dance virginity? Is Bill Carmody the answer?
Your hopes are still alive! Although beating Michigan would have pushed NU temporarily off the bubble, most bracketologists still have NU in after the loss. However, Northwestern is about an eighth of an inch away from not being in the tourney anymore. A loss to Penn State would seal that.
I think an appropriate time to fire Bill Carmody would have been: a) four years ago, where after nearly an entire decade his team was still winning only one in-conference game or b) if Northwestern misses the tourney this year. As of now though, he's strung together the three most successful years in student history, and has us inches away from college basketball's most storied cherry from being popped. I'm excited to see what happens.
3. John Shurna (and his jump shot that inspired a chock full of snarky metaphors) will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest Northwestern basketball players of all time. Who is going to compensate for his absence starting next season?
Jack Daniels. [TIM'S NOTE: Well played, Sherman].
4. What is up with Northwestern's home court? It looks like the purple marker dried out halfway through the coloring session.
Before the season, Northwestern held an online poll asking what their new court design was. The majority of good Internet folk, like me, were team #purplecourt but sadly, it fell short. Instead, NU's court is stained in some parts (the parts where it looks like the marker dried up) and painted in others, which means Northwestern literally has two different shades of purple.
5. Penn State got stymied in Evanston nearly two months ago, ending a long losing streak for Northwestern against PSU. Give us your take on how the re-match will play out in Happy Valley.
I think Penn State is unsuited for Northwestern's 1-3-1 zone defense, as it will get the ball out of Tim Frazier's hands. I also don't think the Nittany Lions have the shooters to make NU pay. The question is always whether or not Northwestern shoots well, and if they shoot average, I think tonight is Northwestern's night.