INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 11: John Shurna #24 of the Northwestern Wildcats dunks against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the quarterfinals of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 11, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Ohio State won 67-61 in overtime. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The question posed at the beginning of every Wildcats basketball season is whether this is finally the year they make the NCAA tournament. Well, a Charleston Classic tournament championship would be a great way to get things rolling in 2011-12.
On Thursday afternoon, the Northwestern Wildcats and LSU Tigers tip off a first-round game in the Charleston Classic tournament. ESPN's Andy Katz has picked Northwestern to win the tournament, but drawing LSU in the opening round is not an easy way to start. Over at Sippin' On Purple, SB Nation's Northwestern Wildcats blog, breaks down the matchup in detail, and also predicts a victory for the Wildcats in the opening round.
Here's a bit of their analysis on the weaknesses of the Tigers' squad:
What are they bad at?: Oh boy. Offense. All the offense. LSU was the worst major conference team offensively last season, scoring 92.8 points per 100 possessions. They hit 31.2 percent of their threes, 44.2 percent of their twos, and 66 percent of their free throws. They were also in the top 50 in the country at getting blocked and getting the ball stolen. These things look to have improved by hitting 11-24 from downtown against Nicholls St., but then they shot an impressively bad 35.4 percent from the field against Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers outrebounded LSU 51-32 including 19 offensive boards, so I'd also guess rebounding is an issue.
Two specific players to watch in this game are Northwestern's top option, John Shurna, and LSU freshman Johnny O'Bryant.
The question posed at the beginning of every Wildcats basketball season is whether this is finally the year they make the NCAA tournament. A Charleston Classic tournament championship would be a great way to get things rolling in 2011-12, so here's the information if you want to tune in to Thursday's game.
Game date, time: 2:00 pm CST, Thursday, November 17th, 2011
Location: Carolina First Arena in Charleston, SC
TV channel: ESPNU, ESPN 3