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Game Preview: Houston Baptist vs. Northwestern

Year two of the Chris Collins Era gets underway to some lofty expectations.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Opponent: Houston Baptist University

Date / Time: Friday, November 14th - 7pm CT

Location: Welsh-Ryan Arena; Evanston, Illinois.

TV: BTN2Go (Online)

Coming off a moderately successful season in his first year at Northwestern, Chris Collinswill look to get year two off to a rousing start when the Wildcats host the Houston Baptist Huskies. As it is every year, the question on everyone's mind in Evanston this year is simple, "Will Northwestern finally make the tournament this year?". I can tell you they 99.9% will NOT make it if they lose this game, which they 99.9% will NOT lose.

Northwestern

The Northwestern Huskies' biggest issue the first few games will be determining who is going to step up and replaceDrew Crawford. Crawford graduated last year as the school's second leading scorer all time with 1,920 points in his career. A game against a much lesser opponent like this can give you a chance to try a few different guys out and see who feels most comfortable in the role. Our Josh Stern wrote about replacing Drew Crawford here.

Houston Baptist

I'm not sure how much there is to say about a school whose most famous alum is golfer Colin Montgomerie. The Southland Conference representative went 6-25 last season including a dismal 1-15 road record. One player to watch out for on the Huskies is guard Rob Lewis, who averaged 12.8 points per game last season.

Prediction

Obviously Northwestern should take care of business against Houston Baptist. What's important to watch in games like this, however, is how everyone gels. It's not always easy to play as a team right out of the gate, and the Wildcats will need to figure out how to do that, and how to replace Drew Crawford in order to have success this year.