1. Northwestern (likely) gets in on crazy play
When you’re trying to end a crazy-long drought, sometimes you need a truly insane play, and that’s just what the Wildcats got last night. With that Hail Mary pass, Northwestern all but sealed their first trip ever to the NCAA Tournament. An incredible story that is sure to draw a lot of public support in the coming weeks, the Wildcats have the look of a team that could make a true Cinderella run.
Nah, just kidding. They’re an average team from a bad Big Ten conference that can’t shoot threes or rebound particularly well. But their inspiring story is sure to draw a lot of attention, meaning there should be good value in fading them in the first round, as the Wildcats are currently slated for that eight-nine seed matchup.
2. Embiid out for season
The lone bright spot in another losing season faded to black after the Philadelphia 76ers shut down Joel Embiid for the remainder of the year with a knee injury. Forget the the obvious concerns of Sixers fans (that “the Process” couldn’t even last half a season); the real story is the interesting Rookie of the Year debate that Embiid’s injury sparks. Even though he’s been far better than any other first-year player, can you give the award to someone who only played 31 games?
Embiid leads all rookies in points per game (20.2 PPG), averaging nearly twice as many as second-place Dario Saric. However, Saric has more total points on the year because he’s played in nearly twice as many games. With a chance to be a focal point in Philadelphia’s offense over the final 22 games, perhaps Saric can bump his per-game numbers to the point where he’s at least not miles behind Embiid.
The strongest case to win the award still resides with Embiid and his 31 games, but at least this news has opened the door for the other rookies to go from “no chance in hell” to just regular old longshots.
3. Subban returns to Montreal
The last time P.K. Subban played in the Bell Centre, he was carted off on a stretcher. Now, the charismatic defenseman returns to face the team that shunned him with a Nashville squad that is straight fire. The Predators have scored four or more goals in six straight games, taking 11 of a possible 12 points. Montreal failed to add any scoring help at yesterday’s deadline, so they won’t be able to go shot for shot in this one.
Carey Price will need to win this game for the Habs, and he’s coming off a 26-save shutout on Tuesday, which should be good news. However, the two previous times he recorded a shutout this season, he followed it up by allowing four goals in his next start. Take the underdog Preds tonight.
Photo credit: MrMcPhoto [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons