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Wildcats fall to Iowa 73-59 in Big Ten Tournament; Carmody’s final game at Northwestern?

Updated: March 15, 2013 12:25AM



Northwestern’s season ended after a 73-59 loss Thursday against Iowa in the Big Ten tournament, which means Bill Carmody’s tenure as coach of the Wildcats could soon be ending, too.

Carmody has one year left on his contract and is expected to discuss his future with Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips, with a decision coming within the next few days.

‘‘As far as I’m concerned, it’s up in the air at this point,’’ senior Reggie Hearn said when asked about Carmody’s future. ‘‘In my personal opinion, I hope he comes back next year. I enjoyed having him as coach, and I believe he can lead the people in this locker room to the tournament next year, but it’s not up to me. We’ll see what happens.’’

Season-ending injuries to Drew Crawford and Jared Swopshire coupled with the academic suspension of JerShon Cobb contributed to the Wildcats (13-19) ending the season with nine consecutive losses by 10 points or more.

‘‘I hope [Carmody is] going to be back next year,’’ redshirt freshman Tre Demps said. ‘‘His savvy and his ability to make the Princeton offense work for our personnel is bar none. I hope he’s back.’’

Hearn had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman center Alex Olah played perhaps his best all-around game, finishing with 12 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Demps added 11.

Roy Marble had 19 points and Mike Gesell 11 for Iowa (21-11).

If Carmody is fired, the pressure will be on Phillips to find a replacement for a job that is considered one of the nation’s most challenging because of Northwestern’s lack of tradition and facilities and its high academic standards.

The last time Phillips hired a basketball coach, he was athletic director at Northern Illinois and hired Ricardo Patton in 2007.

Patton went 26-61 in four years in DeKalb and is now the coach at Central High in Memphis, Tenn.

‘‘Everyone’s goal is to get into the NCAA tournament,’’ Carmody said. ‘‘We haven’t been able to accomplish that. In [75] years, we haven’t been able to accomplish that. There’s not that much difference about what Northwestern offers now than when Kevin O’Neill was here and Ricky Byrdsong and Bill Foster. Everybody knows it’s sort of like an arms race, and the gap may be widening in that way.’’

A coaching change also could mean losing top recruit Jared Sina, considered one of the best recruits in recent Northwestern history. Sina’s father told the Sun-Times on Wednesday that it’s unlikely his son would honor his commitment if Carmody is fired.

The father of Northwestern recruit Nathan Taphorn didn’t go that far, but he said he and his son would have to ‘‘weigh their options’’ if Carmody goes.

‘‘We’re very, very hopeful Carmody will remain at Northwestern,’’ Patrick Taphorn said. ‘‘That was one of our concerns when we committed to Northwestern. We wanted Nathan to play for the same coach for four years. We like Coach Carmody and his staff and his system and feel Nathan could thrive there.’’



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