Northwestern forwards Charlie Hall (10) and Nathan Taphorn (32) celebrate after the team’s Big Ten tournament win against Rutgers on Thursday. The Wildcats will find out Sunday if they will play in the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history. | Alex Brandon/AP

Hoping Northwestern makes the NCAA big dance

SHARE Hoping Northwestern makes the NCAA big dance
SHARE Hoping Northwestern makes the NCAA big dance

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For a few weeks each March, men’s college basketball dominates sports radio and talk around the office water cooler.

For a few weeks each March, nobody talks about Northwestern University.

We’re pretty sure, though, that’s about to change. Bracketologists, so-called experts who pore over scores and schedules to predict the NCAA tournament field, are in agreement that Northwestern is a lock to make this year’s tournament.

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The Wildcats will know for sure Sunday evening when this year’s 68-team tournament bracket is announced on the CBS “Selection Show.”

Northwestern’s absence from the tournament has been glaring because the school is a member of the powerhouse Big Ten Conference. Every other team in that league havebeen to the Big Dance.

In fact, almost every original member of the Division I ranks in America has played in the NCAA tournamentat least once.Northwestern is one of only five that never has made it.

It looks like the Wildcats are coming off the never-been-there list. They have won a school-record 23 games thanks in part to two Chicago-area players: Vic Law from Saint Rita High School and Scottie Lindsey of Fenwick.

Coach Chris Collins, who took over at Northwestern four years ago, is a familiar face. A quarter-century ago, he appeared frequently in the Sun-Times sports pages as a Glenbrook North High School star. His father, Doug, coached the Bulls.

Go, Northwestern. Here’s hoping it’s time to dance.

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