Grading NU sports over Winter Break

    On Sunday, the men’s and women’s basketball teams will play their first games of the quarter (both against Michigan State) just two days after wrestling picks up for the inaugural meet of 2015. All three of those squads were busy while you were away during break; here’s what you missed.

    Men’s Basketball

    Northwestern won five out of its seven games this Winter Break, and for about one hour was atop the Big Ten standings after beating Rutgers in the first conference game of the season. Unfortunately for the ‘Cats, however, the last game of break finished in a disappointing 81-58 loss to Wisconsin.

    In their Big Ten games, the Wildcats have only been outrebounded by a combined margin of 8 boards, and in Sunday’s loss to the Badgers, Northwestern recorded 16 assists on their 24 made field goals. Tre Demps has developed a killer floater that he unleashed against Wisconsin, and he finished with a game-high 17 points on just 14 shots. But NU has only shot 39 percent from the floor and is averaging 15.5 fouls per game in conference play.

    Grade: Four straight wins and one loss coming from a serious Final Four contender makes for a pretty good break. B.

    Women’s Basketball

    The women are now 12-2 on the season and fourth in the Big Ten, and they also won five of their seven Winter Break games, including wins over Gonzaga and then-No. 20 Michigan State.

    Five different Wildcats have scored in double digits during the three conference games (led by Nia Coffey with 12.3 ppg), and Northwestern is averaging 17.4 assists per game, the tenth highest average in the nation.

    Grade: Northwestern blew out Gonzaga and pulled out a win at Michigan State, and the only two losses came from teams that are hovering around Top 25 status. B+.


    Sophomore Jason Tsirtsis placed first at 149 pounds at this year’s Ken Kraft Midlands Championships and is now 21-0 in his matches this season. Three other Wildcat wrestlers placed in the top three of their weight classes at Midlands.

    Earlier in the break, the then-No. 18 Wildcats narrowly lost to No. 1 Minnesota, 21-19. Northwestern returns to the mats this Friday versus Wisconsin.

    Grade: Strong individual performances, and we can’t begrudge a loss to the No. 1 team too much. B.


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