It’s probably time to find some dancing shoes, Northwestern.
The Wildcats knocked off Michigan in dramatic fashion Wednesday night, 67-65, at Welsh-Ryan Arena. They are now 21-9 overall and 10-7 in Big Ten play, and have added a fourth win against a team inside the top 50 of the RPI.
The game-winning play began with Northwestern inbounding the ball under its own basket with 1.7 seconds left. It ended with bedlam in Evanston.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) March 2, 2017
It might not be a lock, but Northwestern is probably going to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
“I don’t know,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said to the Big Ten Network when asked whether his team was in following the game. “I love my team. I think we’re good enough.”
Northwestern was named on the most recent edition of all 124 brackets tracked by The 2017 Bracket Matrix, with an average seed of 9.65. That is the lowest average seed for any projected at-large team that was on all 124 brackets. That’s an indication that the Wildcats were probably a loss or two away from no longer being in the field.
The Wildcats’ top wins this season are against Dayton, Wisconsin, Wake Forest and now Michigan. They have no losses against teams outside the top 100 in the RPI, but wins against the best teams in the Big Ten have been hard to come by for Northwestern. The Wildcats began Wednesday at No. 50 in the RPI, but should move up after the win.
They finish the regular season Sunday against the conference’s top team, No. 16 Purdue. A loss to the Boilermakers will not harm the Wildcats’ chances, whereas there would be no doubt left if they beat Purdue.
But it’s probably a done deal now, anyway.