Membership does have its privileges.
Northern Iowa played well on the basketball big stage last season and the national attention has gotten the Panthers into the big boys club.
Northern Iowa begins its season tonight at the Carrier Dome against 10th ranked Syracuse.
When America last experienced the Panthers they lost to Michigan State in the Sweet 16. But the game before, Northern Iowa shocked No. 1 seeded Kansas. Northern Iowa was on the map. National media all of a sudden came to Cedar Falls, Iowa.
So it’s Missouri Valley against Big East in an interesting opener.
The Panthers lost three starters off last year’s team, but Northern Iowa had a deep rotation so the younger guys will play more valuable minutes this season. Senior point guard and starter, Kwadzo Ahelegbe, is the key to the Panthers this year.
Northern Iowa has started its season out slow in the past, so it must bring its A-game tonight to have a chance against the Orange.
The Orange also returns two starters but possess better talent on paper. Syracuse always gets big-time recruits and this year is no exception. If you are Northern Iowa, look out for center Fab Melo.
Northern Iowa needs a strong showing to remain in the big boys club. After last season however, never count the Panthers out.