By Dave Wischnowsky –

(CBS) When it comes to the glory days of Northwestern basketball, there’s a lot more daze than there is glory.

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The Wildcats have never made an NCAA Tournament. The last time they had a winning record in the Big Ten was back in 1968 – when Chris Collins’ dad was a junior in high school. They’ve only had one .500 season in the league once since then.

And so on, and so on …

However, heading into today’s home game against No. 10 Iowa (11 a.m., BTN), Chris Collins’ Northwestern squad is looking like a team that has a shot to actually accomplish something very few NU teams have done before it.

They could give their coach a winning record in his first year.

Thanks to a stunning three-game conference win streak that’s included victories over Illinois, Indiana and Purdue, NU is now at 10-10 overall and 3-4 in the Big Ten with 11 games regular-season games remaining.

To pull off a winning record for the year, NU would have to go 6-5 down the stretch and then win at least one game in the Big Ten Tournament. That remains a very tall order considering how strong the Big Ten is this season and that NU still has six road games on its schedule.

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But it is now something within the realm of possibility, and if Collins was able to pull of an above-.500 record in his first season in Evanston, he’d be the first coach to do so since Ricky Byrdsong went 15-14 during his NU debut 20 years ago in 1993-94.

Prior to Byrdsong, the only other Northwestern coach since the early 1950s to notch a winning record in Season 1 was William Rohr in 1957-58. Other Wildcats coaching debuts since 1952 have included losing records from the octet of Bill Carmody (11-19 in 2000-01); Kevin O’Neill (10-17 in 1997-98); Bill Foster (7-21 in 1986-87); Rich Falk (6-21 in 1978-79); Tex Winter (9-15 in 1973-74); Brad Snyder (9-15 in 1969-70); Larry Glass (8-13 in 1963-64) and Waldo Fisher (6-16 in 1952-53).

That’s hardly an Elite Eight.

But after Wednesday’s double-overtime victory over Purdue, Collins is starting to make his rookie season a memorable, it not elite, one.

“It’s not pretty, we know that, but as long as we can find a way to get the job done it doesn’t matter,” he said about beating the Boilermakers. “My main goal this year was to make this team a scrappy, hard-nosed team that fights.”

So far in the Big Ten, it’s been one that wins, too.

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Whether Collins’ bunch can keep it up remains to be seen, but by NU hoops standards this winning run is indeed delivering Northwestern fans days worth of glory.