The Wildcats received their 18th-consecutive NCAA Tournament berth, the NCAA announced on Tuesday. Ranked No. 30 in the nation, the Cats (13-10, 10-1 Big Ten) draw No. 42 Ole Miss (13-11, 3-10 SEC) in the first round, which will be hosted by North Carolina and will be played on Friday, May 13.
A first-round victory would pit Northwestern against the winner of No. 3 North Carolina and East Tennessee State in a second-round duel, also hosted by the Tar Heels. Subsequent matches will be played in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Northwestern has advanced to the tournament’s Round of 16 in 12 of their last 17 berths, and to the national quarterfinals three times.
Northwestern sophomore midfielder Selena Lasota was dubbed the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week by the conference Tuesday after she scored a career-high 8 goals in her last game against Ohio State.
The sophomore recorded a hat trick in the first half of the team’s game against the Buckeyes and proceeded to add another 5 goals in the second half. Lasota’s performance marked the most goals scored by a player in the Big Ten this season.
This is the third time Lasota has been named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week, earning it once already this season.
The Wildcats face Michigan on Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament in Evanston. The team must win to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
Northwestern sophomore guard Bryant McIntosh was invited to join NBA MVP Stephen Curry to help out at Curry’s SC30 Select basketball camp, according to a video he tweeted out Tuesday afternoon.
The camp is intended to help a select number of elite high school guards hone their skills. McIntosh previously assisted Curry with instruction last year.
In the video, Curry also congratulates McIntosh on a great season and says that the Wildcats guard — in tandem with coach Chris Collins — have NU on the “up-and-up and in line to do some great things next year.”
Defensive end Dean Lowry and superback Dan Vitale on Saturday became the latest Northwestern football players to be drafted, and joining them in the pro ranks as undrafted free agents are defensive end Deonte Gibson and safety Traveon Henry.
With the dust settled on the NFL’s rookie class, we can take a closer look at which Wildcats have a chance to be contributing performers for their new teams.
Lowry, selected in the fourth round by the Green Bay Packers, seems to have landed in an ideal situation. The Packers are a stable organization, and as a fourth round pick Lowry is very likely to make the cut for the 53-man roster. Green Bay also only has two true defensive ends currently on the team, meaning Lowry should have an early chance at cracking the defensive line rotation and seeing some playing time outside of special teams.
Vitale, drafted in the sixth round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is much more likely to make an impact on special teams than he is on the offensive side of the ball. The Buccaneers list him at fullback, and being able to play special teams is a big part of the job description for the few fullbacks left in the NFL. Special teams play was also a big part of Vitale’s pitch to teams during the pre-draft process. If he does see the field on offense, it will most likely be whenever Tampa Bay decides it needs an extra blocker out of the backfield.
Gibson and Henry have much more tenuous futures in the NFL as undrafted free agents, as making the 53-man cut is far from guaranteed.
The Detroit Lions, who signed Gibson, drafted two other defensive linemen this year and currently list another 11 on their roster. It simply isn’t likely there will be a spot left for Gibson come the end of August. The same goes for Henry, who will have to climb past four safeties and eight cornerbacks on the Buccaneers’ roster.
It’s possible, but Gibson and Henry will each need a very impressive training camp — along the willingness to play special teams — in order to stick around.
Northwestern’s game at Ohio State on October 29 will be played at 5:30 p.m. eastern time and will be broadcast nationally on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, the Big Ten and ESPN announced Monday.
The Wildcats and Buckeyes last met on October 5, 2013 in Evanston, when ESPN’s College GameDay show visited campus for the first time since 1995. NU narrowly lost that game, 40-30, and went on to lose another six straight and finish the season 5-7.
Northwestern sports had a busy weekend. Let’s catch you up to speed…
Two Wildcats were drafted by NFL teams on Saturday. Dean Lowry was taken by the Green Bay Packers and Dan Vitale was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Additionally, Deonte Gibson and Traveon Henry each signed as undrafted free agents, Gibson with the Detroit Lions and Henry with the Buccaneers.
Per coach Pat Fitzgerald on Twitter, wide receiver Miles Shuler and quarterback Zack Oliver were each invited to tryouts with NFL teams as well. Shuler will work out with the New York Giants while Oliver will get a shot with Washington.
Dan Waldman recapped a crucial win for the lacrosse, keeping the team eligible for the NCAA Tournament.
Benjy Apelbaum reviews a disappointing Big Ten Tournament loss for the men’s tennis team.
Mike Marut discusses the women’s tennis team falling in the Big Ten Tournament as well.
The final four rounds of the NFL Draft took place Saturday afternoon, and two Wildcats heard their names called. Defensive end Dean Lowry was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 4th round and superback Dan Vitale was taken by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 6th round as a fullback.
Additionally, defensive lineman Deonte Gibson and safety Traveon Henry each signed contracts as undrafted free agents following the completion of the draft. Gibson signed with the Detroit Lions and Henry inked a deal with the Buccaneers.
There is still time for other Wildcats to sign with NFL teams and defensive back Nick VanHoose is expected to sign somewhere, although the timing of a potential deal is not known.