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ACC/BigTen Challenge: Q/A with Sippin' on Purple of Northwestern University

Tech meets up with the Northwestern Wildcats tonight in the 13th ACC-Big 10 Challenge. Tech is 4-7 in the Challenge including a 3-1 home mark. The Wildcats will be Tech's first and only opponent in Phillip's Arena in 2011. The rest of the Phillip's opponents will be in 2012. Tech has lost 3 straight in the Challenge and needs a W.

From the Rumble Seat reached out to Sippin' on Purple, the SBN Northwestern Blog, in an effort to gain some insider's perspective on the Wildcats. Sippin' on Purple previewed Georgia Tech yesterday afternoon. Click the jump to check out the exchange between FTRS and SOP.

FTRS: We've asked all of our opponents during football season about expansion. What is the general consensus around Evanston about the B1G's snatch up of Nebraska and the new title game?
SOP: More than anything, I think Northwestern fans are just happy to have a home in a conference with long term stability. It's a good thing for us that Jim Delany started the Big Ten Network before such things were commonplace, as the revenue from it means that no one in the conference has to scramble to find a new league. It looks like the Big Ten won't be trying to expand any time soon, which is good because talking about expansion is much less interesting than talking about actual games.

FTRS: Let's talk about this season's returning Wildcats. John Shurna and Drew Crawford put the final nails in Paul Hewitt's coffin last season, in my opinion. What do these two bring to the court besides their 3 point shooting skills?

SOP: Well Crawford wasnt a great 3 point shooter last year, but he's shot a lot better in the early going so far and has improved a lot as a slasher. Shurna also has a decent mid post game and has a knack for drawing fouls.

FTRS: Tech held LSU to 59 while NU let the Tigers score 82 in the Charleston Classic. Was this a function of a porous Wildcat defense or up tempo increased number of possessions? What should we expect from an offensive and defensive philosophy when NU travels to ATL?

SOP: Northwestern played awful defense in the first half against LSU, but they switched to their patented 1-3-1 trap to start the second half and forced a lot of turnovers, although they still allowed a fair amount of points. You'll see the same offense from Northwestern as last year, with lots of threes and lots of ball movement. On defense, Northwestern is much weaker, they're not a great man to man team and often have to resort to the aforementioned 1-3-1 trap, which can work against teams that have never seen it but has been pretty bad of late against Big Ten teams that are familiar with it.

FTRS: Anyone that listens to Mike & Mike regularly knows that Mike Greenberg was pretty down about the late season swoon of Northwestern in the 2010-2011 season. What is the post-season goal of the 2011-2012 Wildcat squad?

SOP: The goal every season, at least until the infamous NCAA drought is broken, will be to make the tournament. As long as they get there, no one will much care what happens afterwards. NU's made three straight NITs but most fans are tired of that and expect nothing less than an NCAA bid.

FTRS: Prediction for Tuesday's game?

SOP: Not sure, should be a close game. Northwestern looked pretty bad in their recent five point win against lowly Stony Brook, so I'll say Georgia Tech pulls out a win, 75-72.

Thanks to Sippin' on Purple for helpin' us out. Go Jackets!