The number eight seeded Northwestern Wildcats appeared in the first NCAA Tournament for the first time in the school’s history this weekend.
And while they were eliminated with a loss Saturday, they leave the tourney with two incredible memories both of them very bad plays.
First, it was the 68-66 opening win over Vanderbilt that came courtesy of Vanderbilt’s Matthew Fisher-Davis bonehead intentional foul of Bryant McIntosh after he lost track of the score that gave Northwestern the win and—then Saturday—it was terrible missed goaltending call that the NCAA admitted yesterday was a mistake by the ref.
The Wildcats had all the momentum after coming back from a 22-point deficit against number one seed Gonzaga to cut the lead to five with under five minutes to play until Northwestern’s Dererk Pardon went up for an easy dunk that would have pulled the team to within three, only to have Bulldogs forward Zach Collins go up to block the shot.
Thing was, Collins blocked it with his hand inside the cylinder!
And while the ref didn’t see it, Northwestern coach Chris Collins did and went ballistic running onto the court.
Which the refs did not miss, immediately assessing a technical.
Yup and after Gonzaga hit both free throws—the critical four-point swing suddenly put them up seven, 65-58.
The Cats never recovered as Gonzaga went on to win 79-73 and advance to the Sweet 16.
Northwestern meanwhile swallowed a very bitter pill.