SALT LAKE CITY – The 2016-17 season saw Northwestern play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. The Wildcats have no intention of it being their last dance.
NU should return four starters off the 9-seed team that won its first round game over Vanderbilt and gave top-seeded Gonzaga a scare before falling, 79-73 on Saturday.
That includes junior guards Bryant McIntosh, a consensus Second-Team All-Big Ten selection and Scottie Lindsey, a Third-Team selection. Sophomore forward Vic Law made the conference’s All-Defensive Team.
“I said to the guys coming back next year that this is just the start,” said Sanjay Lumpkin, the lone senior starter. “These guys are my brothers and this program is going to reach unbelievable heights. These guys should not forget how we feel right now and do everything we can to get back here.”
The Wildcats had unquestionably the best year in school history, and emerged as one of the favorite stories of the postseason. They won nine consecutive games, made the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament for the first time and posted a 6-8 regular season record over teams that made the NCAA Tournament.
On Thursday they beat Vanderbilt to earn a matchup against the Zags. And on Saturday the Wildcats took the Bulldogs to the brink, coming back from a 22-point deficit to trail by just five points with more than four minutes remaining in the game.
“I feel like this is just a building block,” Law said “This is just a beginning and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
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