Behind Enemy Lines: Northwestern guard Bryant McIntosh
Throughout much of the Big Ten season, the Michigan men’s basketball team has been tasked with stopping dominant big men, but Wednesday against Northwestern, the Wolverines will have to deal with a dynamic backcourt.
Junior guards Bryant McIntosh and Scottie Lindsey have carried the Wildcats to a 9-7 conference record. The duo are locked in a tight battle for the team lead in points and free-throw percentage — averaging 14.3 and 14.4 per game and 87 and 85.5 percent, respectively — while McIntosh holds a clear advantage in assists with 5.4 per game.
The Daily sat down with McIntosh at Big Ten Media Day in October to talk about his success as an underclassman, his team’s veteran core and Northwestern’s overtime loss to Michigan in last year’s Big Ten Tournament.
The Michigan Daily: In your first two years, you have been one of the best players on the team. You were on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team and an honorable mention All-Big Ten your sophomore year. What do you think has been the key to your success as an underclassman?
Bryant McIntosh: I think I had good leadership as an underclassman. The upperclassmen showed me the way a little bit. I had (former Wildcat guard) Tre Demps to show me what it’s like in the Big Ten, and then I think (Northwestern coach Chris Collins) really believed in me and put the ball in my hands. When that happens, you have a good chance to be able to be successful and to do some things on the floor.
TMD: What do you work on that allows you to be one of the better shooters on the team?
BM: I get up my shots with the coaches. I have my routine, and I stick to that regimen daily. Even on an off day, I try to get a little bit of shooting in. It’s all about just touch and confidence, so you can’t let your confidence waver after a bad game.
TMD: Coach Collins mentioned that you have a relatively veteran core, so how confident do you feel about the team’s ability to finish high in the Big Ten this season?
BM: We’re very confident. We’re much more experienced than what we’ve been the past couple of years, so that experience will hopefully pay off a little bit. But just because you’re older doesn’t mean you’re going to win automatically. You have to show up each game and show up each day and come ready to play and go to work, but the experience should help.
TMD: In recent seasons, Northwestern has been on the bubble in terms of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. What do you think it will take for the team to get over the hump this season?
BM: I just think we have to execute a little bit better. I think we have to be a little bit tougher mentally. I think when things started to go wrong for us a little bit, we were young so we kind of let that defeat us. You have to learn how to manage some adversity and respond to it in the right way. And I think previously we didn’t. I think hopefully our experience will help us with that.
TMD: Speaking of adversity, when you played Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament last season, it was an overtime game that came down to the wire with the buzzer-beater. How do those kinds of experiences help you in a new season to improve upon that?
BM: It’s just something to look back to, maybe a little bit of motivation. I mean, just a heartbreaking loss like that, I think it can motivate you a little bit to work harder. I think that’s the one thing we can take away from that game. It was a great game, but when you don’t come out on top, it’s a heartbreaker, so just a little motivation and hopefully we learn from it.