An Open Letter to The Northwestern University Men's Basketball Team

Aaron MorseCorrespondent INovember 16, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 13:  Head coach Bill Carmody of the Northwestern Wildcats coaches against the Minnesota Golden Gophers during the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 13, 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Minnesota won 55-52. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Dear Northwestern Men's Basketball,

No one believes in you.

Your season is over and it's barely even started.

Your leading scorer and rebounder from last year is out for the season after opting for foot surgery .

Your best defender off the bench is out for the year with a torn ACL.

Your best defender among your starting five has a heart condition that may or may not limit him if he's forced to play a lot of minutes.

By the way, may I remind you that Northwestern has never made the NCAA tournament? History is working against you; you might as well give up now.

That's the message you're been hearing all week...from your own fans. Northwestern basketball fans are prone to pessimism, so they couldn't believe their ears when men like Tom Izzo and Andy Katz started predicting that this would finally be the year you guys made it to the Big Dance.

With all these injuries and ailments...things are back to where they're supposed to be. Northwestern will be out-manned and out-gunned in this resurgent Big Ten. They will win a maximum of 12 games all season.

That's what everyone is saying.

I'm here to tell you what hopefully you already believe...that's a bunch of baloney.

I don't know what everyone else was looking at in the opener against Northern Illinois, but it's apparent you've mastered the 1-3-1 zone defense.

You know as well as I do, for all the great things Kevin Coble did on offense, he was a liability on defense.

With the 1-3-1 of Nash, Crawford, Mirkovic, Shurna, and Thompson, you guys might just have the best defense in the Big Ten.ย 

You guys forced 17 turnovers with that swarming D, while your offense only turned it over 9 times.

Yes, I know, it was ONLY Northern Illinois. But I saw the hustle and the passion you have out there, and the Huskies were completely overwhelmed.

I saw John Shurna diving all over the gym, knocking passes away.

I saw Luka Mirkovic battle in the low-post, suffer a bloody nose after taking an elbow to the face, but come back in and be as physical as ever.

I saw the slimmed-down Kyle Rowley make plays on both ends of the floor.

Losing Jeff Ryan hurt, but if Nash needs a breather, Crawford can play the top of the 1-3-1, and men like Ivan Peljusic and Mike Capocci provide energy off the bench on both sides of the floor.

If I saw that passion against little old NIU, what can I expect to see against the big boys like Butler? I'm fired up just thinking about it.

I also saw that you guys had a terrible shooting night.

That doesn't happen too often...yet you still won by 22.

I saw Jeremy Nash driving to the basket like never before and Luka Mirkovic showing-off low post moves NU hasn't seen in many a year.

Now I see Butler coming to town, and I hear the voices from around the NU campus: "Without Coble, there's no way this team makes it to March Madness, and Butler will wipe the floor with them."

Even if you beat Butler, it will be seen as "just a fluke," and people will say that you'll come down to earth eventually.

You have the chance to be the greatest Cinderella story of all-time.

But no one will believe in you until your name is called on Selection Sunday.

Except for me.


Aaron Morse


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