The 6-foot-8 center underwent surgery to his right (non-shooting) hand early last month. Northwestern went 7-1 in his absence, with the lone loss coming Friday against Michigan State. The Wildcats have Minnesota at home Thursday.
Pardon was averaging 6.9 points and 7 rebounds per game while shooting 57.6 percent from the floor for Northwestern. While the Wildcats were successful without Pardon, his return helps bolster a lineup that is currently enjoying a 12-3 start to the season in an attempt to secure the school’s first-ever NCAA tournament appearance.
Butler put together a fairly dominating performance on Saturday, beating No. 9 Indiana 83-78 in a game they lead by 14 at halftime. Kelan Martin led the way with 28 points for the Bulldogs, who suddenly look like a team that we need to talk about at the top of the Big East this season.
They’re one of just two teams this season to beat the Hoosiers, who own wins over top ten teams North Carolina and Kansas. They’re one of just two teams to beat Arizona this season. They’ve beaten Cincinnati. They’ve beaten Vanderbilt and Northwestern. They won at Utah. Their lone loss on the season came on the road to an in-state rival that will likely finish in the top four of one of the best mid-major leagues in the country.
They have a star in Martin. They have a pair of talented point guards, Tyler Lewis and Kamar Baldwin, who compliment each other so well. Andrew Chrabacsz and Tyler Wideman makeup an underrated front court. Chris Holtmann has proven to be one of the best young coaches in the game.
Look, I don’t think anyone believes Butler is going to win the Big East barring some kind of season-altering injury to Villanova.
But is there really any reason to believe that the Bulldogs can’t finish second in the Big East?
Purdue: The Boilermakers came back from 17 points down in the first half to knock off Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic on Saturday. Caleb Swanigan was the star, but credit has to be given to Vince Edwards as well. He played his best basketball of the season, finishing with 20 points and 10 boards.
Arizona: Give Sean Miller and Arizona credit. This team, with Ray Smith done for the year, Parker Jackson-Cartwright injured and Allonzo Trier out, just keeps winning. On Saturday, they handed Texas A&M a loss in Houston in the Lone Star Shootout, and while Lauri Markkanen, Kobi Simmons and Rawle Alkins all have continued to improve this season, it was Dusan Ristic who was the star on Saturday.
Seton Hall: The Pirates landed a key win in their push to get a bid to the NCAA tournament by handing South Carolina their first loss of the season. The Pirates may be without Isaiah Whitehead this season, but they still have a roster full of scrappy, athletic veterans that are not going to back down from anyone. I don’t know if anyone plays as hard as Angel Delgado.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys picked up their biggest win of the season on Saturday, as they went into Wichita and knocked off the Shockers in a dominating performance. Brad Underwood has had this group playing better this season, but this was really the first time that the Pokes have landed a resulted that backs that up.
Northwestern: Is this going to be the year that the Wildcats finally make it to the NCAA tournament? They still have a ton of work left to do, but the job got a little bit easier on Saturday as Northwestern knocked off Dayton in the United Center in Chicago. Chris Collins has that team sitting at 9-2 on the season, with the losses coming by a total of six points against Butler and Notre Dame. They’ve beaten Texas, DePaul and Wake Forest already this year, but Dayton has a chance to be a top 25 win come Selection Sunday.
Northwestern forward to undergo season-ending surgery
Northwestern forward Aaron Falzon will be out for the rest of the season following surgery on his knee, the school announced on Sunday.
“We all feel badly for Aaron,” said Northwestern head men’s basketball coach Chris Collins. “We were looking forward to him being a big part of our team this season. He already is on the road to recovery and we look forward to getting him back on the court and being a central piece of our program for the next three years.”
Falzon had played just 20 scoreless minutes in three games this season. He’s missed the last five games.
A 6-foot-8 sophomore, Falzon averaged 8.4 points and 3.6 boards while shooting 35.4 percent from three as a freshman last season.
Northwestern has found a temporary home while its arena undergoes a nine-figure renovation.
The Wildcats will play the 2017-18 season at Allstate Arena, about 15 miles west of Evanston, Ill. in Rosemont, the school announced Tuesday.
“We are excited to partner with Allstate Arena to host Northwestern men’s basketball games during the 2017-18 season while Welsh-Ryan Arena is undergoing its renovation,” Northwestern vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips said in a statement. “The venue has a rich college basketball tradition in the Chicagoland area. I know that our fans will enjoy cheering on our team at Allstate Arena during what will be an exciting season.”
Allstate Arena previously had been home to DePaul, which is moving into its own new building this year. Capacity is around 18,000 for basketball.
Northwestern had its best season under coach Chris Collins last year, going 20-12 overall and 8-10 in the Big Ten.
The renovation to Welsh-Ryan Arena will bring the building – which opened in 1952 and last renovated in 1983 – into the 21st century by replacing wood bleachers, widening concourses, adding concessions, improving arena technology and adding new locker rooms at the cost of at least $110 million.
Construction is slated to begin in spring of 2017 and be completed in the fall of 2018.
“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:
POSTERIZED: Northwestern’s Scottie Lindsey dunks on a defender on team’s foreign trip (VIDEO)
Many colleges have already started fall semester, but Northwestern is still on an overseas trip in Spain thanks to the school being on trimesters and starting later.
The trip is a big one for a young Wildcat roster that needs all the experience they can get before a crucial Big Ten season. Sophomore wing Scottie Lindsey is one of the players Northwestern is hoping makes a leap during the 2015-16 season and he showed a positive flash in a win this weekend with a poster dunk over a defender.