Evaluating Northwestern without JerShon Cobb

Northwestern's JerShon Cobb – who has missed 19 games in his first two seasons due to injury – will now spend an entire year out of uniform for violation of team rules. This is a blow to a team which lost All-Everything John Shurna and is still seeking its first ever NCAA Tournament bid.

Cobb, who started 8 games last season, was playing the best basketball of his career at the end of last season. In their final regular win over Iowa, their overtime loss to Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament, and their opening round win over Akron in the NIT, the 6-5 Cobb averaged 18.7 points a game – making 71% of his twos and 56% of his threes. He obviously wasn't going to do that for a season, but it was encouraging for a guy who had struggled on offense to suddenly start playing at that high of a level.

For the season he made 47% of his twos, and 31% of his threes.

Northwestern returns three starters. Cobb wouldn't have been expected to carry a heavy load, but he would have been a significant contributor.

Most alarming to Northwestern fans isn't how he was scoring at seasons end, but rather, how he kept other teams from scoring throughout the year. Cobb recorded a steal on 4.3% of their opponent's possessions, which was easily the best on the team, and only trailed Aaron Craft in the Big Ten.

This is for a team which struggled defensively (184th nationally in defensive efficiency). Bill Carmody's offense is going to score (though few will take note because most people don't understand tempo), but when Northwestern is getting scored on, that's when Cobb's absence is going to be felt.