Nov 17, 2013, 12:27 PM EST
On Nov. 10, Northwestern head coach Chris Collins got the first win of his coaching career in a 72-55 win over Eastern Illinois behind 25 points and 11 rebounds from fifth-year senior Drew Crawford.
Collins is looking to take the Wildcats to uncharted territory: The NCAA tournament.
Northwestern, which is 1-1 on the season following a loss to Stanford, likely won’t make the tournament this season, but Collins could be the coach to lead the Wildcats to that feat. He’s got the coaching background from his father and Coach K, and quickly into his new job he was able to tap into Chicago when he landed a commitment from St. Rita High small forward Vic Law.
Collins’ tenure as head coach appears to be off to a good start, and in time he’ll have a revamped Welsh-Ryan Arena, as he continues to change the culture of the Northwestern basketball program. Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune reported on Saturday that Northwestern’s home arena will get a new floor, video scoreboard and cushioned seats in the stands behind the benches the university hopes to have in place for next season.
Installing a new scoreboard also requires the creation of a production control room, costs that can go north of $2 million. But Northwestern can recoup some of that by selling ads.
The new court likely will have darker purple and a block N, rather than the N logo with a wildcat head.
The arena largely has been neglected since a $6.75 million renovation in 1984. Nearly 30 years later, detractors view Welsh-Ryan Arena as an oversized high school gym with the Big Ten’s worst fan experience.
The change in the arena is part of other plans to enhance the facilities of Northwestern athletics. For next season, Northwestern will at least look the part of a big-time basketball program with a new-look arena while Collins continues to to try and turn that perception into a reality.
- Saturday’s Snacks: No. 18 West Virginia, Georgetown win absolute thrillers 0
- No. 11 Kansas makes a statement blowing out No. 17 Texas 1
- Bracket Update: Upcoming stretch could have major impact on Duke’s NCAA seeding 2
- Sister’s illness makes for a bittersweet homecoming for Tulsa head coach Frank Haith 0
- Weekend Preview: Things are heating up in the Big 12, plus Coach K No. 1,000? 0
- You think college basketball is unwatchable this year? Turn on an Indiana game 7
- Chase for 180: Boise State rebounds from 0-3 conference start thanks to Derrick Marks 0
- No. 6 Wisconsin utterly embarrassed No. 25 Iowa for more than one reason (13)
- The Top Ten Players that Coach K has had at Duke (12)
- You think college basketball is unwatchable this year? Turn on an Indiana game (7)
- College Basketball Talk’s Latest Top 25: So where do we rank Duke? (5)
- You Make The Call: Was this a charge on TaShawn Thomas? (VIDEO) (5)