I don't think Bill Carmody could have been any more blunt.
"We have two games in front of us. This is our chance."
The Wildcats host Ohio State Wednesday night in the home finale and then head out to Iowa Saturday afternoon for the final game of the regular season. If the Wildcats want to make any more noise with the NCAA selection committee before the Big Ten tournament next week, it will have to be now.
It isn't just up to Carmody to get his players motivated. Guys like senior John Shurna know their college careers are almost over. The sense of urgency rests heavy on their shoulders.
"They see their career coming to an end and they don't want that to happen," Carmody said. "You see guys who break down after big games because they care so much."
During the ESPNU telecast of the Wildcats' 67-66 victory at Penn State Saturday, the Wildcats were frequently mentioned as a "bubble team" for the tournament. Carmody may not like talking about hypotheticals, but he is glad his team is still in the discussion for an NCAA bid.
"That's good for us," he said.
* Carmody admitted that he can't remember much of the last time NU played Iowa, an 83-64 victory on Feb. 9.
"I forget," Carmody said. "We were at home, for starters.
"It's a long season. Iowa is getting better and they just lost at Illinois [65-54 Sunday] and you know it's going to be a hard game there."
* As for Ohio State, the key to beating the Buckeyes is obvious: stopping Jared Sullinger.
"I'm not sure what our game plan will be, but it starts with Sullinger and how are we going to stop him."