Heartbreakers on hardwood


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Here we go again ...

There are a few ways to look at Northwestern's overtime loss to Minnesota in the first-round of the Big Ten basketball tournament last night.

You could say their NCAA hopes took a big hit. You could say they came up short. You could say their NCAA hopes took a tumble or are on thin ice. You could say their bubble has popped ... again.

Or, if you're the cup-is-half-full type, you could say they play one of the best 39-minute games in college basketball, and at least they're likely to make the NIT. You could say it could be worse—at least they weren't as disappointing as the Illini. You would be saying these things because you've already downed three and a half cups of Malort.

They had to win that game to make the Big Dance. In case you're keeping track, the score is now NCAA Tourney 74, Northwestern 0.

After leading for much of the game last evening, the Cats went the final four minutes without a field goal—but still had a chance to win. Unfortunately for those of us outside Minnesota, in overtime they played defense that helped the Gophers look like the Chicago Bulls.

The Gophers are not the Chicago Bulls.

It was a movie NU fans were forced to watch too many times this year. The Cats lost three games in overtime, three others on the last possession, and a couple more in the closing minutes.

Maybe they'll go out and win the NIT to build momentum for next year ... when their all-time leading scorer, John Shurna, has graduated. Sure—it's possible.

Somebody please hand me the Malort.

In the spirit of positive thinking—which doesn't come naturally in my sports world—I'll note that despite struggling with injuries, the DePaul women's team finished the regular season 22-10 and is poised to make another NCAA tournament.

So—dare I utter it?—go Blue Demons!


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