EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Northwestern made a sweeping change by hiring Chris Collins in the offseason and sent out a loud message in the process.
Close calls are no longer enough. The Wildcats are looking for more.
That means establishing themselves as contenders in the Big Ten and shooing away that NCAA tournament albatross hovering above them, and they believe Collins is the man to get the job done.
He’s the son of an NBA coach and a former Mr. Basketball in Illinois who grew up near campus in suburban Northbrook, Ill., before going on to star for the Blue Devils. Now, he’s trying to accomplish something no coach has been able to do — lead Northwestern, the school that hosted the first Final Four, to the NCAA tournament.
The season opener is Nov. 9 against Eastern Illinois.