Northwestern looking to make most of 'new' home court
After calling Rosemont Horizon/Allstate Arena home for the last 37 years, the DePaul men's basketball team pulled up roots and relocated to the new Wintrust Arena.
There will still be college basketball at Allstate Arena this season, even if it's for just one year.
Fresh off its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament, Northwestern is moving into Allstate as the Wildcats' regular home court -- Welsh-Ryan Arena -- is being renovated.
It's not an ideal situation for an NU program that finally has gotten off the ground, but Welsh-Ryan has long needed a facelift.
"Certainly, it's going to be different this year not having an on-campus facility," said Wildcats coach Chris Collins at Big Ten media day. "We're excited about what's coming down the pike. But for this year, logistically, it will be different."
DePaul had to deal with similar issues, and having to bus up to Allstate Arena from its Lincoln Park campus was not ideal.
Northwestern will make the most of traveling down from Evanston, and it's only for one season.
"During the off-season, I was able to pick the brain of DePaul's staff a little bit," Collins said. "Being around those guys, you see the coaches out on the road in the summer and during the recruiting period, just to get an idea from them, how did they approach the travel from campus out there? What did they do? What would they have done differently if they could? Things of that nature."
Collins will get firsthand answers beginning Friday night, when the Wildcats open the season against Loyola (Maryland) in Rosemont.
For the first time in school history, No. 19 Northwestern is ranked to begin the season.
"We have high aspirations of what we can become, and we know it's going to be tough playing in the league (Big Ten)," Collins said. "We're excited to see what we can do."
Four starters return from last season's 24-12 team -- guards Bryant McIntosh and Scottie Lindsey, forward Vic Law and center Derek Pardon.
McIntosh (14.8 points per game), Lindsey (14.1) and Law (12.3) were the Wildcats' leading scorers in 2016-17, and Pardon was the leading rebounder with 8 per game.
"We have a core four that's really done a great job," Collins said.
The returning veterans should make the transition to Allstate Arena that much smoother.
"I'm just relying on my older guys to be mature about it," Collins said. "And I've told them, we just have to make it our home. It's going to be our home arena. I do believe that people are going to come out and watch this team.
"I think the players that we have that they've watched in the past, it's a fun group to follow. It's a fun group to watch. I trust that our fans are going to come out and support us, even though we're going to be 25, 30 minutes from campus."