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Friday, April 19
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Wildcats whimper into Bloomington

Northwestern still struggles to compete in Big Ten

Northwestern coach Bill Carmody was blunt, honest and somewhere between despair and hope at this year's Big Ten media day in Chicago. After four years as head coach at Princeton, where he guided the Tigers to the postseason every year, Carmody took the head coaching job with one of the worst teams in the Big Ten. And he knew it.\nThe Wildcats didn't win a single conference game last year (0-16) and have never made an NCAA tournament appearance. And until this Saturday, when Northwestern upset No. 14 Iowa 69-61, the Wildcats were on a 32-game losing streak in regular-season Big Ten games. \nNorthwestern (9-15, 1-10) hadn't won a regular-season conference game since beating Penn State Feb. 6, 1999. Carmody and the Wildcats will have a chance at their second conference win 8 p.m. today when Northwestern faces IU (16-9, 6-4) in Assembly Hall. \n"I can't understand why we can't succeed here except that we haven't succeeded here," Carmody said. "That's something I think you can overcome. It's happened at other places; let's let it happen here. I knew we weren't going to win that many games this year."\nUnlike Carmody, who knew he was entering the Big Ten from the bottom, interim head coach Mike Davis wasn't sure what to expect from the Hoosiers when he took over. Davis said the way IU played at the NIT in New York gave him doubts about whether the team could win 19 games this season. \nBut after three back-to-back wins and some tinkering with the lineup, Davis found himself in a tie for third place in the conference. There are six regular season games remaining, including today's, and two of the most difficult are on the road against Michigan State and Purdue.\n"If we take care of that (winning at home) that's 19 wins. We've come a long way as a basketball team," Davis said. "We have to go on the road and split Michigan State and Purdue. If we can do that, it will be a very good season for these guys."\nBut first, the Hoosiers have to win the remaining home games, beginning with the Wildcats. \n"I told the guards that they need to be ready to shoot the ball," Davis said. \nNorthwestern is led by sophomore forward Winston Blake, who averages 12.3 points per game. Sophomore guard Ben Johnson follows with an average of 10.3 points per game. Northwestern ranks last in the conference in scoring offense with an average of 59.5 points per game. The Wildcats are also last in the conference with a .381 field goal percentage.\nCarmody said one of the reasons recruiting is so difficult at Northwestern is because there is no winning tradition. \n"Indiana kids who are 10 years old want to go to IU, but I don't know who wants to go to Northwestern because of (basketball)," Carmody said. "How do you develop a tradition? By winning. \n"But how do you win if you don't have tradition? Somewhere along the line we're going to have to get a couple of real good players. We have enough guys around that are good players but maybe we're asking them to do too much"

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