No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 8 Northwestern Prediction, Game Preview

20170316ppRMUNCAA9SPTS-4 Robert Morris' Anna Niki Stamolamprou right and Rebeca Navarro practice Thursday at Purcell Pavilion

He was to be the hero for the Commodores having scored 22 points off the bench, but miscommunication made him the unfortunate goat. It didn't need Northwestern to go to the line.

Taking care of the ball takes some pressure off of the Wildcats' defense, and they are a fairly stout group in that department as well, as they've held opponents to fewer than 70 points in nine of their last 11 games heading into the tournament.

But when the Wildcats' name flashed across the screen, the wait was finally over.

It was a moment of jubilation and redemption for a program that has felt more than its share of losing and disappointment in the 65-year-old gym.

"He shot the 3 really well", Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew said. Even the final opportunity for a desperation heave was messy and chaotic, an irony that a coach famous for hitting a perfectly-designed game-winner was unable to design and implement something to get a more reasonable look. Collins, a former Duke player and assistant coach, bonded with McIntosh over their mutual interest in the Blue Devils. "And hopefully they can stick around for a little bit longer". "I just wanted to let him know that, we're with him no matter what". I needed a guard. "We've been there. I'm proud we're still alive". That's what he's been from Day 1. "And then (Northwestern athletic director) Jim Phillips told me about some garbage Skip Bayless said".

McIntosh, a three-star prospect with about a half dozen or so other offers, liked the idea that he could be part of something special.

Achieving that success wouldn't come overnight, though.

For the Wildcats, it was McIntosh that carried them to the finish line.

On the season, Wisconsin basketball is averaging 71.1 points, 36.2 rebounds and 15.3 assists per game.

McIntosh picked up his third foul and had to sit, and suddenly Vanderbilt was on a 12-0 run to make it 49-46 NU with a little under 12 to go.

This is the second-straight year the Blue Raiders have beaten a higher-seeded Big Ten team on the first day of the tournament. "You feel bad for players". "I had to go through a lot of adversity first".

Nearly by the week, the Wildcats are breaking new records and achieving program-defining moments.

This year's team will collectively be written into the all-time record books. "I am going to blaze my own path, and this is the right place for me to do that". At one point in the second half, the Commodores trailed by 15. "We put in the work, hours upon hours in the gym, and we're all confident shooters and post players".

"I just didn't know the score to be honest".

"I thought he was in a good rhythm early".

"It was close enough and we enjoy watching basketball", said Caitlyn Frakes.

Thriving in high-pressure situations has turned from a weakness into a strength for Northwestern this season.



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