EVANSTON – It was nearly a year ago that many were wondering what the future of Northwestern men’s basketball might be as they were completing their fifth-straight losing season with the end of their head coach’s contract looming.

But the narrative around the Wildcats’ basketball program has changed completely early in 2023 as Chris Collins’ group has already made history and hopes to continue to do so in the next few months.

A victory over No. 1 Purdue on Sunday at Welsh-Ryan Arena is the highlight of what has been a great season so far for Northwestern as they chase just their second NCAA Tournament bid. They are 18-7 after knocking off the Boilermakers, their first victory over an AP top-ranked team in 19 tries, and many projections have the Wildcats solidly in the field for the big dance.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi currently has them as a seventh seed in his latest “Bracketology” as Northwestern sits in a tie for second with No. 14 Indiana.

That’s who the Wildcats will host on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. in Evanston in what will be another chance for the program to improve its NCAA Tournament resume. It’s one of six games left for the team this season, with their next contest coming against Iowa at home on Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

While there certainly is work to be done, the turnaround of Wildcats’ basketball this season has been one of the stories of college basketball, and it’s one that Louie Vaccher of WildcatReport.com has seen firsthand over the last few months.

He joined “9 Good Minutes” on WGN News Now to discuss what he believes had led the program’s turnaround in the 2022-2023 season. He talked about the backcourt duo of Chase Audige & Boo Buie, and how Collins has helped to solidify his future in Evanston after a few shaky years.

You can see his interview on Northwestern with Larry Hawley in this edition of “9 Good Minutes” in the video above.