With Football Focus, NU Neglecting Hoops Arena

CollinsThursday’s column at CBS Chicago

(CBS) The 76th edition of the men’s basketball NCAA Tournament begins today, and for the 76th straight year, the Northwestern Wildcats will honor the event in the only way they know how.

By following it from home.

As the only major conference school in America to never reach the Big Dance, Northwestern exists in a realm that perhaps only Cubs fans can understand, and even they know what the postseason feels like.

Like the Cubs, Northwestern also plays in an aging venue that’s in need of work. But unlike Wrigley Field – which is slated for a massive overhaul (eventually) – Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston isn’t due to get any more than a touch-up in the foreseeable future. However, if Northwestern really wants to become a perennial player in the Big Ten basketball race – and even the occasional qualifier for the NCAA Tournament – it needs to do more for its home court.

Much more.

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