Nadkarni: Here we go again

Rohan Nadkarni, Assistant Sports Editor

Has there ever been a better microcosm of anything in the universe than the Ohio State game was for the men’s basketball team last year?

If you enjoy inflicting pain on yourself, these next couple paragraphs are for you. (As is a therapist.)

The Wildcats trailed the Buckeyes for most of the second half. Every time NU seemed poised for a run, Ohio State would respond with a charge to keep its players in front.

Then, it happened.

With the Cats down three, and John Shurna smothered by two defenders, Alex Marcotullio hit a three-pointer that almost brought the roof of Welsh-Ryan down. Seriously though, if cheering were to actually bring down the roof of a building, wouldn’t it have to be Welsh-Ryan? Sometimes when I lumber up the stairs I worry about bringing the roof down.

But before anyone could truly process that moment of happiness and the building actually cave in, Jared Sullinger hit a game-winner for the Buckeyes, smacking me in the face harder than any loss since the 2011 NBA finals.

That game, an epic contest where NU clawed, scratched and did other fierce cat-like actions only to fall heartbreakingly short, summed up all of the 2011-2012 season. The Cats seemed behind the eight ball all year long to sneak into the NCAA Tournament, but when they gave themselves a chance near the end of the season, they fell just short.

But the sick part is I’ll be sucked right back into the student section this winter, pouring out shots of milk to calm myself down after every rollercoaster finish.

It’s crazy to think how much I care about sports. It’s actually unhealthy. This would normally be a time where I would drop some cheesy life lesson and tell you why it’s actually a great thing we all have sports and how important this basketball season is for the greater Evanston community, but I’d be lying.

I have a problem. I’m not human. The other night, because the Heat was losing to the Knicks, I snapped at a friend when he asked me for a cupcake.

Although it may be a couple years before I castigate someone over a baked good because of an NU basketball game, that doesn’t mean I haven’t realized myself that I am starting to care too much.

This year, the stakes only get more intense. NU remains on the verge of a long-overdue trip to the NCAA Tournament, and the profile of the team is arguably the highest in the history of the program.

But still, hurdles remain for the Cats. The Big Ten is ultra-competitive. I’m not sure what a gauntlet really is aside from MTV’s “The Challenge” seasons aptly titled “The Gauntlet,” “The Gauntlet II” and “The Gauntlet III,” but the Big Ten is definitely a gauntlet.

Although stars such as Drew Crawford, Reggie Hearn and Dave Sobolewski returned to NU, there’s no guarantee they will mesh with the nine newcomers on the squad.

Like I said, it will probably still be a little longer before I care about the Cats the way I do about my favorite sports teams growing up. But if you see me in the student section this year and think to yourself, “Wow, that kid looks super passionate,” it’s not really a good thing.