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Northwestern 2017-2018 Preview: Wildcats Backcourt Aiming For Another NCAA Tournament Run

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Gonzaga vs Northwestern Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

In the weeks leading up to the 2017-’18 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing its preview series breaking down each Big Ten team. These will come in a set of series previewing the overall team, the team’s backcourt, wings, and big men, and the team’s schedule. Each post will take a look at its top in-depth and give predictions on the upcoming season.

Today’s edition of the ‘BTPowerhouse Preview Series’ will focus on the backcourt for Northwestern. Northwestern didn’t loose any backcourt depth this offseason and will look to continue to build on what they have started.

'BTPowerhouse Preview' - Northwestern Backcourt:

  • 2015-’16 All-Big Ten Qualifiers: Bryant McIntosh, Scottie Lindsey
  • Key Departures: None
  • Additions: Anthony Gaines, AJ Turner (redshirt year)

Top Player: Bryant McIntosh

Northwestern’s backcourt provided plenty of surprises in the 2016-2017 season. With the departure of Tre Demps heading into the season, many questions surrounded Scottie Lindsey and if he could replace what Tre Demps did.

Scottie Lindsey did in fact have a tremendous offseason and was a major key for Northwestern in the 2016-2017 season. He missed a stretch of games in conference play with an illness, which affected him, but he proved to be one of the most improved players in the Big Ten. Lindsey is athletic and he can shoot. He compliments Bryant McIntosh perfectly and when the two are in complete sync, they’re arguably one of the most dangerous duos in the Big Ten.

Starting Rotation

This seems to be pretty set in stone. Scottie Lindsey and Bryant McIntosh will start their senior seasons in the backcourt. Lindsey and McIntosh compliment each other well. McIntosh is a pass first point guard. Lindsey can catch and shoot anywhere on the court.

Lindsey proved last year that he has earned the starting roll opposite of McIntosh and it is hard to see Coach Collins changing this, especially after the two played key roles in Northwestern’s first-ever NCAA Tournament run.

Bench Rotation

Isiah Brown: Brown was the first guard off the bench last year and even started a few games while Lindsey was out. Brown is undersized but plays aggressively. Brown should be the favorite off the bench again, as long as he improved in the offseason. He could see some competition from incoming freshman guard Anthony Gaines, though.

Jordan Ash: Ash’s minutes and time decreased from last season. Even in the wake of Scottie Lindsey’s illness, Bryant McIntosh, Nate Taphorn, and Isiah Brown absorbed those minutes. Although Northwestern played in more games, Ash appeared in 27, down one from the previous season. His points per game average also decreased from just over 1 to just over a 1/2 point per game. With Anthony Gaines coming in, Ash will continue to be hard pressed for minutes.

Anthony Gaines: Anthony Gaines is an incoming freshman that will join the Wildcats this season. He is an athletic guard that can shoot from anywhere on the floor and is great at driving to the basket. Gaines will compete for minutes from the start. Primarily, it is expected that he will compete with Isiah Brown for first to come off the bench. Gaines is listed at 6’ 4’’ and could see time next to Scottie Lindsey when Bryant McIntosh is on the bench.

Overall

Northwestern has two veteran leaders in the backcourt and great depth behind them. With the added depth in Anthony Gaines, Northwestern has great backcourt support to compete in the Big Ten. Led by Bryant McIntosh, the Wildcats could have one of the best backcourts in the Big Ten this season.