Northwestern Wildcats: 22-10, 10-7 in the Big 10

Head coach: Chris Collins (4th season)

Players to watch: Bryant McIntosh (14.4 PPG, 5.2 APG); Scottie Lindsey (14.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG); Dererk Pardon (8.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG) 

Season recap: After much waiting, it’s finally the year for the Wildcats, who became the final Power-5 conference team to appear in the NCAA tournament. The Evanston faithful have head coach Chris Collins to thank, a former player and associate head coach at Duke who is now reaping the benefits of strong recruiting classes. Bryant McIntosh is the team’s leader, a streaky shooter who has a knack for clutch shots and has been one of the best point guards in the conference. Scottie Lindsey has also been a contributor for Northwestern after being sidelined for four games in February. 

Despite finishing near the top of the Big Ten, the Wildcats only notched three wins against top-25 opponents all season. The team's biggest issue was offensive firepower, as Northwestern went 10 straight games near the end of the season without scoring more than 70 points. But the Wildcats have had a flair for the dramatic all season, notching numerous tight wins, including a memorable victory against Michigan on a game-winning layup from Dererk Pardon set up by a fullcourt pass.

How they make a run: Northwestern feeds the ball to Pardon down low and the duo of McIntosh and Vic Law heat up from beyond the arc as the Wildcats' dream season continues with their first NCAA tournament win in program history. 

How they falter: An inexperienced Northwestern squad struggles to score against a tough defense and fails to make open perimeter looks as the Wildcats' opponent packs the paint.