The Northwestern University men’s basketball team has never made the NCAA Tournament in the previous 71 years of the tournament’s existence. The Wildcats are a long shot this year, but their first bid could come soon.
“It’s going to happen,” Wildcats’ head coach Bill Carmody said on the Mully and Hanley Show. “And certainly we’re shooting for it this year. For me, the idea is, OK, get there, but keep it going. It’s not like just a flash in the pan thing.”
LISTEN: Bill Carmody On The Danny Mac Show
At 14-8 and in 8th place in the Big Ten the Wildcats have their work cut out for them if they want to make this year’s expanded field of 68 teams.
Currently sitting at No. 82 in the most recent CBSSports.com RPI ranking, Northwestern will have to make a statement once the Big Ten tournament starts. Wins agaisnt Wisconsin and Minnesota in the final two games would also be a tremendous help to the Wildcats’ cause. Currently Wisconsin and Minnesota are ranked N0. 14 and No. 25, respectively.
The Wildcats are 1-7 against ranked opponents this season, their only win came agaisnt the then ranked No. 24 Fighting Illini, who have since dropped from the top 25.
Getting to the tournament and staying in the tournament will take much more than a great effort by the team. The school has to commit to the basketball program like they have to the football program.
“Things have to happen institutionally, and we’re starting,” Carmody said. “Jim Phillips is really a go-getter and he’s putting us on the right track.”
The Wildcats need to market themselves to recruits and the rest of the country as a perennial tournament team, and the addition of a marketing firm to the Northwestern athletics team will start to do just that.
“We haven’t gotten there yet,” Carmody said of program’s overall tournament goal. “But I think we’re making the right maves and the right strides.”
The Wildcats next game is Wednesday night when they travel to Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines.