Off to their best start since the 1982-83 season, Northwestern announced Sunday that it will begin Big Ten play without the services of its best big man.
Senior center Alex Olah has been sidelined indefinitely due to a stress fracture in his left foot, leaving a sizable hole in the middle of Chris Collins’ starting lineup. Through 12 games Olah’s averaging 12.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and two blocked shots per game for the 11-1 Wildcats, whose most significant tests to date have come against North Carolina (their lone defeat) and Virginia Tech.
After completing their non-conference schedule with a home game against Loyola (MD) Sunday night, the Wildcats will play four of their first six Big Ten games at home. Among those contests are home tilts with No. 4 Maryland, Ohio State and Wisconsin.
With Olah sidelined former Virginia Tech big man Joey Van Zegeren, who’s currently averaging 4.1 points and 4.0 rebounds per game and hasn’t played since December 5 due to his own foot injury, will return to the rotation. Also of note is Northwestern’s decision to use 6-foot-8 freshman Derek Pardon, who they originally planned to redshirt this season.