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Northwestern still quiet about Bill Carmody

Updated: March 21, 2012 4:58PM

Five days after Northwestern ended its season with a second-round loss at Washington in the National Invitation Tournament, there has been no announcement that Bill Carmody will return as men’s basketball coach.

Athletic director Jim Phillips — and the athletic department — have not put out any kind of statement regarding Carmody’s future. The silence fuels speculation that Carmody, who still has one year remaining on a two-year contract extension, could be fired.

The Wildcats finished 19-14, just a victory shy of recording a third consecutive 20-win season. NU was considered an NCAA tournament bubble team until the Wildcats lost to Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.

If Phillips decides that Carmody has taken the program as far as it will go and makes a change, an attractive replacement is Duke associate coach and Northbrook native Chris Collins.

Now that the Blue Devils are out of the NCAA tournament, having lost to Lehigh in a second-round game last week in Greensboro, N.C., Collins can’t use the line, “I have to focus on Duke” during the month of March and early April. Duke is done. Is Collins done at Duke, too?

Collins would make sense as a new hire for a lot of reasons. Chief among them is he is used to recruiting for an institution with high academic standards that goes after a certain kind of student-athlete. Duke and NU also have similar enrollments, with NU around 8,000 and Duke closer to 7,000 undergraduates.

And it helps that Collins is from the Chicago area, having played his high school ball at Glenbrook North. During the Blue Devils brief run in the tournament, Collins waxed poetic on how much he loves coming back to Chicago and how much it means to him to show his family where he grew up.

And the final connection is Phillips. In the Duke media guide, athletic director Kevin White lists Phillips as one of many administrators White has mentored in his career. The two worked together at Arizona State and Notre Dame.

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