Men’s Basketball: Reviewing McIntosh’s offensive arsenal


Daily file photo by Rachel Dubner

Bryant McIntosh launches a floater. The junior guard shot well from the paint and the baseline in Big Ten play.

Aidan Markey, Assistant Sports Editor

All zone-level stats from Big Ten regular season games.

After Scottie Lindsey fell ill in early February, Bryant McIntosh stepped into the role as the primary offensive option for Northwestern. And he has not relented since.

The junior guard leads the Wildcats in points per game, free throw percentage and assists per game, becoming the program’s all-time assist-leader in NU’s March 4 loss to conference-champion Purdue.

McIntosh has become known for his signature floater, a critical component of his dribble-drive arsenal, as represented by his high percentage near the basket and in midrange areas. His dribble pull-up is one of the best in the Big Ten, and the numbers in the short corners show it, as he shot a combined 52 percent in the two zones during conference season.

Graphic by Max Schuman/Daily Senior Staffer

Though his .400 shooting percentage ranks eighth on the team, the All-Big Ten second-team selection has proven he can, and will, hit big shots to keep NU rolling when it needs it most, as exhibited by a last-minute 3-pointer to put the Cats ahead of last-place Rutgers on Feb. 18. It would have been NU’s third loss in four games, if it had not been for the junior’s late-game heroics.

McIntosh’s main inconsistency lies in his contrasting numbers on the right and left sides of the court — those on the right are notably higher than those on the left. This might not be surprising for the right-handed Mcintosh, though, who also receives a majority of his ball screens, and subsequent open looks, from the right side.

However, he caught fire from all over the court in the Big Ten Tournament. Before the Cats’ blowout loss to Wisconsin in the semifinals, the Big Ten assist-leader shot just under 58 percent from the field, and racked up an 80 percent conversion rate at the rim. He also controlled the back court against stellar guards, such as Rutgers’ Corey Sanders and Maryland’s Melo Trimble.

As it approached its first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament, NU became one of the biggest stories in college basketball this season. Now, with uncharted territory in front, there are numerous questions for the team.

One thing is clear for the Cats, however: They will go as far as McIntosh takes them.

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Twitter: @aidanmarkey