The Northwestern Wildcats out of Evanston, Illinois hold a unique place college basketball as the only program in a Division-I power conference, (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12, and SEC) to never make an NCAA Tournament appearance. Despite the Wildcats inability to make the NCAA Tournament, they have shown improvement over the past decade and many students and alumni believe that the Wildcats could make their first NCAA Tournament appearance any year now. Northwestern competes in the Big 10 Conference and plays home games in the Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Northwestern began playing basketball back in 1904, finishing the season with a record of 2-2. During the pre-tournament era, Northwestern had some successful seasons, winning the Western Conference in 1931 and 1933. Northwestern has also been retroactively awarded the Helms champions for the 1931 season.
After recording their first winning season since 1969, the Wildcats made their first postseason appearance in the 1983 NIT. The Wildcats played the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the first round and beat them by a score of 71-57. Northwestern played the DePaul Blue Demons in the second round and lost by a close margin of 65-63. Northwestern made their next NIT appearance in 1994 and got revenge on DePaul by beating them by a score of 69-68 in the first round. Northwestern played the Xavier Musketeers in the second round and lost by a score of 83-79. The Wildcats best NIT finish came in 2011. The Wildcats played the Milwaukee Panthers in the first round and won by a score of 70-61. In the second round, the Wildcats played the Boston College Eagles and won that game by a score of 85-67. Northwestern played the Washington State Cougars in the quarterfinals and lost by a score of 69-66 in OT. Northwestern made the NIT again in 2012, making it to the second round.