Going into Wednesday night’s game against Ohio State, the Northwestern Wildcats were perched atop college basketball’s most elusive March Madness bubble—and a win would likely earn the Cats a bid to the Dance. After Alex Marcotullio sunk a 3-pointer to tie the game with just 7 seconds left on the clock, fans at the Welsch Ryan erupted. Their cheers were quickly quelled 4 seconds later when Buckeye standout Jared Sullinger made a layup for the win.
Northwestern has never made it to March Madness, making it the only school in a power six conference to never play in the NCAA Tournament. While the Evanston, Illinois university has always managed to compete against other top universities academically, it has never been a top dog in big-time sports. But in recent years, there has been a significant push to increase the school’s investment in athletics—a somewhat slippery slope given the recent scandals in college sports. To find out more about the role of big-time ball at top-tier universities, The Afternoon Shift was joined by ESPN senior writer Lester Munson and Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro.