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Additional Northwestern observations.

As discussed previously in this corner of the Internet, last night I had a chance to take in Northwestern's first game at Madison Square Garden since 2001.

It was a lot of fun to see what the Wildcats do in person and I've assembled some additional thoughts after the jump to go with the above highlight package.

1. While the arena was not close to 1/3 full, there was an enthusiastic turnout of Northwestern fans scattered throughout, who made a touch more overall noise than the St. Francis band/student section/cheerleaders - including the occasional "Go U! NU!" chant tossed from sideline to sideline.

2. Point guard Michael "Juice" Thompson wore #2 instead of his traditional #22 because his purple road uniform was misplaced by the airline. Thompson was favoring his right leg after the game and mentioned he had tweaked his knee but would be fine.

3. There was a comfort in hearing Bill Carmody bark "Forwards out!" and "Harder cuts!" from the sidelines. It has been almost a decade since I saw Carmody in person and he barely looks like he's aged. In fact, he's slimmer and suaver than I remembered. Thought his postgame answer referencing Brian Taylor and Geoff Petrie when asked about how fast his team plays the "Princeton offense" was well-constructed.

4. St. Francis Terriers guard Stefan Perunicic is the biggest gunner I've seen in DI basketball this season. Any pass that went to him on the perimeter, he shot it -regardless of distance from the basket or degree defended. Perunicic made his first triple and then proceeded to moonshot seven consecutive terrible, high-arcing misses. I don't think he passed the ball until the second half. He's 13-58 outside for the season (22.4%).

5. The temporary "Holiday Festival" vinyl logo covering halfcourt led to three different players slipping on the surface and falling to the hardwood in the first half.

6. Much is made, rightfully so, of Northwestern's offensive spacing, but the Wildcats' ability to pass in close quarters - for example when the ball goes to the left elbow and immediately is lobbed behind a defender's head to the cutter who threw the initial pass down the center of the lane, is a key to their success.

7. Potentially because of playing two games in two days, Carmody subbed Shurna and Thompson out more than usual. The two played 30 minutes and 34 minutes respectively, both below their season averages.

8. The Wildcats' 1-3-1 defense was more condensed than it has been in games I've watched on TV. Northwestern didn't extend the top of the zone and trap far up on the sideline, instead choosing to protect the deep corners.

9. When the Garden's PA announcer misspoke and said "Northeastern leads 13-12" after a John Shurna three, there was much booing by those in purple.

10. Shurna leads the nation in Effective FG% at 78.0% and even when he has a "quiet" night, you look up and he's suddenly scored 26. His double flick three point shot sure looks goofy, but it goes in 61.9% of the time (26-42).

11. The Northwestern offense is really clicking. Versus St. Francis they had a season-best 76 possessions.

12. The Wildcats top the nation in Three Point % (44.3%), are 13th in the nation in Two Point % (55.6%) and third in the nation in Effective FG% (59.8%). Overall, NU is 10th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency. While the defensive numbers continue to improve, their success without the ball in Big 10 play is going to determine their postseason fate - not unlike Princeton in 2010-11.

13. It was good to briefly see Northwestern assistant Mitch Henderson for a second after the game while he was scouting the Davidson/St. John's matchup in preparation for tonight's final.

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