The Big Ten only had one game on Wednesday and it seemed to be a pretty underwhelming one. However, that wouldn’t prove to be the case, as Northwestern found itself in a tight one against Chicago State.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-Chicago State Cougars 75, No. 25 Northwestern Wildcats 73
The Wildcats entered this one as sizable favorites, looking to score an easy win against in-state foe Chicago State. And it was hard to disagree with that projection. Northwestern had worked itself into the top 25 rankings, while Chicago State had limped to a 3-8 record and a rating outside the top 300 on KenPom.
However, things don’t always go according to plan.
Northwestern started pretty well, but started fading as the first half came to a close. Wesley Cardet started going off and eventually finished with 30 points, four assists, and four rebounds. The Wildcats generally struggled on defense from there through the second half, allowing Chicago State to finish with 75 points and 1.12 points per possession. Unfortunately, the underwhelming effort allowed Chicago State to escape with the win.
It’s hard to contextualize the severity of this loss. The Cougars aren’t your typical mid-major or an ordinary “bad” team. Chicago State is one of the worst teams in the nation. Even after upsetting Northwestern on Wednesday, Chicago State still ranks 321st nationally on KenPom. Considering there are only 362 teams, that speaks to how poorly the Cougars have performed this season. This loss is going to be like a weight around Northwestern’s neck for the duration of the season.
The loss dropped Northwestern to 7-2 on the season. The Wildcats will try and rebound on the road against DePaul on Saturday. The team should win that one, but it also should have beaten Chicago State on Wednesday, so we’ll see how that shakes out.