Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 2/21/12

When Northwestern beat Minnesota on Saturday, the Wildcats were able to pull out the win with strong three-point shooting and ball security, despite a bad rebounding ratio. Tuesday night against Michigan, the Cats rebounded well, but turned the ball over 17 times and shot just 18.8 percent from beyond the arc.

The end result, a 67-55 loss, was the opposite of the Minnesota game, as well.

“In the second half we seemed worn down,” coach Bill Carmody said. “We turned the ball over 14 times, not unlike the game in Ann Arbor when we turned it over the same amount. We only made three “threes” up there and we made the same amount tonight.”

Guest post by Kevin Trahan of bigtenorbust.com, purplewildcats.com and the Daily Northwestern.

But the focus in the postgame press conference shifted quickly from Tuesday night’s game to the big picture, as Northwestern’s quest for its first ever NCAA Tournament berth just became more difficult.

“If we’d won this game tonight it would be really good for us because they’re a ranked team, but we still have to play Penn State, Ohio State and Iowa,” Carmody said. “It doesn’t assure you anything.”

Carmody refused to buy into the thought that this game was a must-win, but sitting at 6-9 with just three games left before the Big Ten Tournament, it’s hard to give the next three games anything but that status.

NU junior guard Reggie Hearn acknowledged that his team missed an opportunity against the Wolverines, but insisted that the season is far from over.

“I think we’ll be fine,” he said. “I think we still have a lot to play for, definitely. This is a tough loss, but we are just going to look at it as we fought hard. This is a good team. We had a chance to get a resume-building win against a good team and we didn’t get it.”

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