Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.



Men’s Basketball: Northwestern looks to continue winning ways against Michigan, Buie approaches history

Daily file photo by Henry Frieman
Entering Thursday’s contest against Michigan, Boo Buie is on the cusp of program history.

After splitting a pair of games in last week’s road trip, Northwestern returns to Welsh-Ryan Arena to square off against Michigan Thursday night. 

Behind graduate student guard Ryan Langborg’s 26 points Sunday at Indiana, the Wildcats (18-8, 9-6 Big Ten) snapped their five-game road losing streak and look to extend their perfect 7-0 home conference record with a win over the lowly Wolverines (8-18, 3-12 Big Ten). 

With a victory over Michigan, the hosts can further cement themselves toward a valuable double-bye in March’s Big Ten Tournament. 

Meanwhile, the Wolverines sit at the bottom of the Big Ten standings and are 1-8 in their last nine games. Michigan has only one road conference win thus far, but coach Chris Collins told reporters Wednesday that his team must treat every opponent the same.

“You can’t do that in this league,” Collins said. “Every team in this league can beat anybody if you’re not ready to play … There’s only five games left. The teams that try to go to the next level are the ones that understand that you’ve got to now take it into another gear.” 

Here are three storylines to keep in mind as NU prepares to host Michigan. 

1. Buie looks to put his name in the record books on Thursday 

During his time with the ‘Cats, graduate student guard Boo Buie has amassed several personal accolades and set historic records for his team. 

Only five points away from surpassing John Shurna’s 2,038 program highmark, Buie is on the verge of cementing himself as one of the best players to don a Northwestern uniform. 

“It’s a great opportunity and I’m honored to do it here,” Buie said. “Especially at home with the support and how the fans have come out the last two years, it’s been awesome. It’s a testament to all the work and belief my teammates and coaches have had on me over the years. … It will be a special night.” 

Buie’s accomplishment potentially occurring at Welsh-Ryan Arena — a stadium he has built a legacy in — will make the honor even more special, he said. 

Collins said the almost certain record is a testament to Buie’s unwavering belief in the program.

“It was always going to mean a lot,” Collins said. “It’s a great tribute any time you can do something in front of your own fans and students that have meant (a lot) to you, and also what he has meant to this place. He single-handedly created an excitement around this program. It’s awesome that he’ll have an opportunity to do it in front of our home crowd.” 

2. Michigan loses forward Olivier Nkamhoua for season 

Just a week ago, coach Chris Collins announced senior guard Ty Berry would miss the remainder of the season with a torn meniscus. 

Flash forward a week later, the Wolverines have been dealt with a similar blow. On Wednesday morning, Jon Rothstein announced Michigan forward Olivier Nkamhoua will miss the rest of the season following a wrist surgery. 

Thursday’s contest against the ‘Cats will be the Wolverines’ first game without their second-leading scorer, who averaged 14.8 points and 7.1 rebounds in 26 games. 

While Nkamhoua’s absence does not change preparations against Michigan, Collins recognizes the ‘Cats cannot let their foot off the gas pedal. 

“He is a terrific player,” Collins said. “When you lose a key guy, teams tend to rally around each other. He did a lot of things for (Michigan), but now other guys will look to step up for them. ”

3. Collins and co. will continue to lean on depth 

With about eight minutes remaining in the first half at Indiana, Collins rolled out a lineup that surprised many — including himself. 

Alongside regular rotation players Langborg and sophomore forward Nick Martinelli, Collins slotted sophomore guards Justin Mullins and Blake Smith and graduate student forward Blake Preston onto the floor.

With a thin rotation, NU will continue to lean on its role players. 

“That’s the beauty of how games work. It’s a great testament to those guys for staying ready and coming in every day and continuing to work,” Collins said. “When their number was called, they were ready to come out and help, especially on the defensive end.” 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @aayushyagarwal7

Related Stories: 

Men’s Basketball: Northwestern rides Langborg’s 26 points in bounce-back victory over Indiana

Men’s Basketball: Nicholson’s post presence transcends stat sheet in Northwestern’s victory at Indiana

Rapid Recap: Northwestern 76, Indiana 72

More to Discover