EVANSTON – When fans look back on the history of the program, 2017 is going to be a significant part of Northwestern basketball.
Of course, there is the first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history back in March when the team finally broke through to get one of the 68 tournament bids. On top of that, the Wildcats got a win over Vanderbilt in the first round before losing to eventual NCAA runner-up Gonzaga in Salt Lake City.
Chris Collins’ program got yet another first on Wednesday – and it comes before the team even steps on the floor for the 2017-2018 season.
The Associated Press has Northwestern in their preseason poll for the first time in program history, slating the Wildcats 19th before the start of the season. They’re one of four Big Ten teams in the initial rankings – joining Michigan State (No. 2), Minnesota (No. 15), and Purdue (No. 20).
Earning this ranking is due to the number of returns from the team that finally broke the NCAA Tournament drought last winter. Starters Vic Law, Dererk Pardon, Scottie Lindsey, and Bryant McIntosh return to a lineup that will try to chase another first for the school – a Big Ten regular season or tournament championship.
Northwestern opens the season against Loyola-Maryland on Friday, November 10th at Allstate Arena – where the Wildcats will call home this season as Welsh Ryan Arena undergoes renovations.