Chris Collins

Report: Chris Collins to receive lengthy contract extension

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Chris Collins and Northwestern have reportedly agreed to a lengthy contract extension on Monday morning.

According to Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune, Collins, 43, and the university have come to terms on a deal that will run through the 2024-25 season.

The news shouldn’t come as a surprise. Collins, in his fourth year in Evanston, took Northwestern to the first NCAA Tournament in school history. The Wildcats defeated Vanderbilt in the first round and had eventual national finalist Gonzaga on the ropes in the second round before a controversial call swung all the momentum they had.

In four seasons, Collins has a 73-60 (30-42 Big Ten) record, with back-to-back 20-win seasons.

Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald is also reportedly in line for an extension, according to the Tribune.

Northwestern announces plans for Welsh-Ryan Arena renovations

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Six years after recommendations were made for the renovations of athletics department facilities on campus, Northwestern revealed the plans for a project that will modernize Welsh-Ryan Arena. The project is estimated to cost more than $110 million, with donors stepping forward to help with the money needed, and it will begin at the end of the 2016-17 basketball season.

Construction will force the men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and wrestling teams to find new homes for the 2017-18 season, with those locations yet to be determined by the school. However the improvements to Welsh-Ryan are much-needed, and when completed will provide the programs with facilities expected to help them compete in the Big Ten. The school hopes to have the work done by the fall of 2018.

Among the changes to be made are chair-back seating throughout the arena, new locker rooms for the men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball programs, and new offices for the men’s and women’s basketball programs.

No. 12 Michigan State makes 16 3s, beats Northwestern 76-45

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EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) Denzel Valentine made five of Michigan State’s season-high 16 3-pointers and the 12th-ranked Spartans clamped down on cold-shooting Northwestern for a 76-45 victory Thursday night.

Valentine finished with 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds as the Spartans (18-4, 5-4 Big Ten) beat the Wildcats for the seventh straight time. Matt McQuaid scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half, and freshman Deyonta Davis had eight points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots.

Northwestern (15-7, 3-6) shot a season-low 20.7 percent from the field in its fourth consecutive loss. It finished with more free throws (17) than field goals (12).

Bryant McIntosh had 14 points on 4-for-15 shooting for the Wildcats, and Aaron Falzon finished with 11 points. Redshirt senior Tre Demps was 2 for 14 from the field, missing each of his seven 3-point attempts.

Valentine scored 14 points in the first half, and then focused on more of a distributing role as the Spartans pulled away in the second half.

Northwestern closed to 41-29 on Alex Olah’s two free throws with 16:44 left, but Michigan State responded with a 13-2 run. McQuaid had the final 11 points of the spurt, including three 3s – two of them coming off passes from Valentine.

It just got worse from there for the Wildcats, with little-used Matt Van Dyk giving the Spartans their biggest lead of the game with a fast-break dunk in the final seconds. Michigan State shot 51 percent (28 for 55) from the field, including its 16-for-26 night from long range.

TIP-INS

Michigan State: Valentine’s 3-pointer with 8:06 left in the second half moved him past Julius McCoy (1,377) for No. 23 on the school’s career scoring list. … The Spartans’ previous season high was 12 3-pointers in a 78-35 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore on Dec. 9.

Northwestern: The Wildcats have one game left in their first stretch of four straight against ranked opponents since the 1989-90 season. They take on No. 3 Iowa on Sunday. … Northwestern went 17 for 19 from the free-throw line, compared to 4 for 4 for the Michigan State.

UP NEXT

Michigan State: hosts Rutgers on Sunday.

Northwestern: visits No. 3 Iowa on Sunday.

Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

VIDEO: Northwestern’s four-part summer series

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Northwestern released a unique four-part look into its summer preparation for its trip overseas.

“The Foundation” follows head coach Chris Collins and the Wildcats as they were followed by cameras throughout the summer in a Hard Knocks-style format. The videos include footage of the start of summer practices, the team’s summer workouts, some off-the-court looks at the team and concluding with the team’s trip to Spain.

The four videos combined total a little over 22 minutes and it offers an up-close look at being a Big Ten player during a summer where an exhibition trip is included.

You can view all four videos here:

Three-star forward Rapolas Ivanauskas becomes Northwestern’s first 2016 commitment

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To this point in his tenure as head coach at Northwestern, Chris Collins has done a good job of recruiting local talent to Evanston. Saturday evening he and his staff reeled in its first verbal commitment in the Class of 2016, as 6-foot-8 forward Rapolas Ivanauskas has picked Northwestern.

Ivanauskas currently attends Barrington High School in Barrington, Illinois, where he averaged 18 points, 8.3 rebounds and two assists per game as a junior. For his efforts Ivanauskas was named second team All-Area by the Chicago Tribuneand he also held offers from Creighton, Iowa and Purdue.

“Rapolas Ivanauskas is significant pickup for Chris Collins and Northwestern because he’s a local top-100 prospected who has a significant amount of skill,” NBC Sports recruiting insider Scott Phillips said of Ivanauskas. “He’s shown an ability to score from the inside and outside, and he made major strides in his junior season.”

As stated above Ivanauskas is Northwestern’s first 2016 commitment, and of their three 2015 commitments two are front court players in Aaron Falzon and Derek Pardon with guard Jordan Ash being the other. Add that group to a solid corps of sophomores led by point guard Bryant McIntosh and wing Vic Law IV, and Northwestern doesn’t lack for young talent that’s either already on campus or on its way.

The hope in Evanston is that the young talent being gathered by Collins and his staff will ultimately yield the school’s first-ever NCAA tournament berth.

WATCH: Northwestern’s postgame celebration following win over Iowa

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After winning their conference opener at Rutgers December 30, Northwestern went through a streak of ten consecutive losses. While some were blowouts, including a stretch of three straight losses by 15 points or more entering Sunday’s game against Iowa, Chris Collins’s team lost four of those games by five points or less, one by seven and another by eight.

Those close calls are what made the end of regulation so difficult for Northwestern supporters, including Collins’ father Doug. The elder Collins couldn’t bear to watch down the stretch, as a Jarrod Uthoff three-pointer sent the game into overtime.

Video credit: Big Ten Network

Ultimately the Wildcats were able to close the game out in overtime, winning 66-61 with Bryant McIntosh scoring 18 points, fellow guard Tre Demps adding 16 and center Alex Olah tallying 11 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots.

And in the locker room, the Wildcats were sure to enjoy their first win of the calendar year.