Northwestern trying not to let the pressure exceed the pleasure

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EVANSTON, Ill. - Regardless of whether Northwestern still needs a win to make the NCAA tournament for the first time, they need a win, period.

The Wildcats have lost five of their last seven games, struggling to score during key stretches.

They haven't been in the spotlight much before, but the scrutiny is only going to intensify with a shot at history on the line.

"Do they feel some pressure? Of course, they do," remarked head coach Chris Collins. "We all do. That's part of doing this. You're going to feel some pressure. In life, it's about pressure. We all have jobs. We have pressure to put food on our table for the kids."

"If it was easy, it would have been done here before, many a times."

"Every interview, every everything - we get asked that," noted co-captain Sanjay Lumpkin. "We know how important tomorrow is. We just have to stay locked into that game."

Keeping the rest of the team loose is no easy task either.

"It's something you kind of worry about, for sure. It's a tough task because we're not used to it. We're not used to this pressure,"explained co-captain Bryant McIntosh. "Just keeping guys in the moment and not letting it become too big for you. At the end of the day it's just a game. It's something we all love to play. It's just something that we reiterate to each other."

"Now it's just turning it around. Start getting back to who we are."

Before heading to Washington D.C. for the Big Ten tournament, Northwestern will host Michigan Wednesday and Purdue on Sunday to finish up the regular season.