It was a 28-point victory for Northwestern as they cruised past New Orleans, 90-63 in Evanston. The Wildcats were led by key sixth man Scott Lindsey as he had 26 points to lead Northwestern, with 15 of them coming in the second half. Lindsey was also 6-of-7 from deep as Northwestern controlled most of the game to move to 5-1 on the season.
But now they face a Virginia Tech team that is on the road. They have had an up and down season so far as they have some talent but haven't gotten off to the right start. The Hokies started off the season with a shocking 85-82 loss to Alabama State. Tech then rebounded with three straight wins but it was snapped by a loss to Iowa State as the Cyclones crushed the Hokies, 99-77. Virginia Tech has a solid record at 4-2 but the problem is that they don't come against any teams in a major conference. The best team that they have beat so far was UAB from Conference USA. Northwestern will be the second team from a major conference that Virginia Tech has played and this will be a real test to see how the Hokies will do this season. They are in a tough conference as the ACC boasts powerhouses like Duke, UNC and Virginia, who are already picked to be the top teams in the ACC.
Northwestern will likely rely on their guard play as the backcourt has been the strongest piece to the offense. The likes of Bryant McIntosh, Tre Demps and Lindsey off the bench have added a pop to the Northwestern offense. You don't know which one will go off. One game it's McIntosh, the next it could be Lindsey. It could even be freshmen Aaron Falzon, who has emerged as a threat from deep for Northwestern.
This will essentially be the last "tough" test that Northwestern will face. The only other team from a big conference that Northwestern will face in non-conference play will be DePaul from the Big East. They aren't facing any tough teams as they play some mid-major teams where a loss would be horrible for the Wildcats. But still, expect the Wildcats to come out on top against Virginia Tech. That's their last test until they get to Nebraska for their first Big Ten conference game.
Conference pride will also be on the line tonight as the Big Ten/ACC challenge is underway as two of the top conferences battle it out. The Big Ten has struggled this year in pre-season tournaments and non conference games. Teams like Iowa, Indiana and Illinois have all struggled against inferior opponents. Northwestern can bring some pride back to the Big Ten with a win against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.