Malik Smith, Alex Olah

Northwestern wins at Minnesota, is now fourth in the Big Ten

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It’s February 1st, and after beating Minnesota 55-54 on the road on Saturday, Northwestern is currently sitting at fourth in the Big Ten.

Let me repeat that.

Northwestern is fourth in the Big Ten. They’re in front of Ohio State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Purdue, Indiana and Illinois. They’ve won four of their last five games, a streak that includes wins at Assembly Hall (Indiana), the Kohl Center (Wisconsin) and The Barn (Minnesota).

It’s been an unbelievable stretch for Chris Collins’ Wildcats.

“The guys, they’re so resilient and so tough. Tough week, we’re at Wisconsin then we have to play these guys. They’re so tough on the road,” he told Jim Jackson on the Big Ten Network after the game. “We’re winning with our defense.”

That statement could not possible be more accurate, as Northwestern is by far the nation’s worst offense among high-major programs. According to KenPom, the Wildcats average 0.954 PPP, which is good for 317th nationally, slotting them one spot ahead of Grambling, who hasn’t won a Division I game since March of 2012.

Think about that.

A team whose offense is only marginally better than Grambling is now sitting a fourth in the Big Ten.

I think you can legitimately make an argument that Northwestern is the most surprising team in the country, and any conversation for Coach of the Year that doesn’t include Collins is a conversation that should be happening.

VIDEO: Marquette’s Henry Ellenson shows off his versatility

Marquette's Henry Ellenson is fouled by Providence's Ben Bentil as he drives to the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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I’m on record saying that I would consider Marquette freshman Henry Ellenson if I had the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft, and while, at this point, I think that Brandon Ingram is probably going to end up going No. 2 — (Maybe No. 1???) — I still believe that Ellenson is going to be one of the best players from this draft class.

Why?

Well, just take a look at these highlights from the 26-point, 16-rebound performance he had in a win over Providence last night.

Then remember that Ellenson is 6-foot-11:

POSTERIZED: Pensacola State’s Jamal Thomas dunks through block attempt, makes coach go nuts

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A solid poster dunk went down in the junior college ranks last night as Pensacola State sophomore Jamal Thomas finished a dunk through a block attempt against Northwest Florida State.

The 6-foot-3 Thomas used his power and momentum to go through the opposing shot blocker and the play made his head coach, Pete Pena, go nuts with an over-exaggerated fist pump. The video is short, but be sure to watch for Pena’s reaction near the logo at the top right of the screen.