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Northwestern basketball still gunning for first Big Dance appearance

Wildcats head coach Bill Carmody spoke recently about the program's continuing quest for their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Andy Lyons

The Northwestern Wildcats have been on the cusp of the NCAA Tournament of late, and head coach Bill Carmody said in a report by Scott Powers of on Thursday that he expects his team to once again challenge for a spot in the Big Dance.

"There's always pressure to win. You always want to win and keep the program where it is," Carmody said in the report. "Now you've got to move forward, not just incrementally, you have to make a jump here. Even though you lose (John) Shurna, people say, 'Whoa, that was the year.' But I think you'll be surprised with our guys. We got some decent newcomers."

Along with said newcomers, Northwestern also brings back four senior starters in Drew Crawford, Dave Sobolewski, Alex Marcotullio and Reggie Hearn, who will all work to punch a ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

"Maybe back then it was (frustrating), but you move forward," Carmody said of the program's current state of mind in the report. "I just think, look, the program has gotten much, much better over the last four years, and we'll get into the tournament this year or next year or maybe this year and not next year or the year after.

"I think the program is stable. It's very competitive. It's stable, so we'll be in the mix every year."

The Wildcats begin their season at home against Texas Southern on Tuesday, Nov. 13.