DePaul vs. Cincinnati Game Preview

DePaul travels to Cincinnati for the Big East conference opener for the Blue Demons and the Bearcats on Tuesday night at Fifth Third Arena.

Key Information

DePaul Blue Demons vs. Cincinnati Bearcats – Tuesday, December 28th, 6:00 p.m. Central – Fifth Third Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio

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Game Preview

The last time DePaul (6-6) won a road game, George W. Bush was president. That win came in November of 2008 at UIC.

The last time the Blue Demons won a Big East conference road game it was at Cincinnati in March of 2008.

DePaul hopes to get their next Big East road win in the same place as the last one – at Fifth Third Arena.

It won't be easy. Cincinnati is 12-0 and still not getting any respect from the pollsters. The Bearcats failed to make this week's Associated Press Top 25 rankings.

While the Bearcats are unbeaten, Mick Cronin's squad has played an easy non-conference schedule. Cincinnati's strength of schedule is 340th in the nation. UC's best wins are a 68-34 destruction of Dayton and a 66-56 win over Oklahoma on the road.

Former Crane Prep guard Dion Dixon is leading the Bearcats in scoring at 12.8 points per game.

The Blue Demons are going to have to find a way to deal with 6-9, 265 lb. forward Yancy Gates on the inside. Gates leads UC on the boards with 6.7 rebounds per game and contributes 11.4 ppg. Gates had 23 points and eight rebounds the last time the Demons met the Bearcats.

This one is shaping up to be a defensive battle. The Bearcats are leading the Big East in scoring defense, giving up just 54 points per game.

While the Blue Demons are on a bit of a roll, having won their last five straight at Allstate Arena, the Big East conference slate is completely different.

"The Big East is a whole different ballgame," said DePaul senior Jimmy Drew. "So, we're all going to have to step our game up. I think we're ready, we've been preparing for it all season. We've played a lot of good teams so far. I think that's going to have us pretty prepared as we go into the Big East."

The Big East is without question the toughest league in the country. DePaul is going to have to be prepared for a grind every night in conference.

"Our league has five teams in the top ten of the coaches' poll," said DePaul coach Oliver Purnell. "Cincinnati is still one of the unbeaten teams. The league didn't do us any favors giving us two in a row – at Cincinnati and at Georgetown to start with. It's an easy way to start, right?"

While it isn't an easy way to start, the Blue Demons have been making strides lately.

"I think it will be a great test for our guys to go on the road and see what they can do," Purnell said. "The thing that I'm going to emphasize to our guys is ‘let's take all the lessons that we've learned and put them out there'. If we do that, we're going to be a nightmare for a lot of teams. If we do that, we're going to have some good dreams ourselves."

Notes:

- DePaul freshman forward Cleveland Melvin was named the Big East's Rookie of the Week for this week. Melvin scored a career-high 23 points against Florida Atlantic last week.

The Last Time

In February of this year, DePaul lost 74-69 at Cincinnati. Senior guard Will Walker led all scorers with 24 points. Mac Koshwal put up a double-double of 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Yancy Gates led Cincinnati with 23 points and eight rebounds. Lance "Born Ready" Stephenson racked up an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double for the Bearcats.

Cincy Roster

NO NAME HT WT POS CL EXP Hometown High School

1 Cashmere Wright 6-0 175 G RS SO 1L Savannah, Ga. Urban Christian Academy

2 Eddie Tyree 5-10 180 G SR 1L Columbus, Ohio Groveport Madison

3 Dion Dixon 6-3 190 G JR 2L Chicago, Ill. Crane Technical Prep Common

5 Justin Jackson 6-8 215 F FR HS Cocoa Beach, Fla. Arlington Country Day

10 Alex Eppensteiner 6-3 205 G SO 1L Cincinnati, Ohio Elder

11 Larry Davis 6-3 185 G SR 3L Houston, Texas Alief-Hastings

15 Darnell Wilks 6-7 205 F SR 3L Nashville, Tenn. Pioneer Christian Academy

22 Rashad Bishop 6-6 220 F SR 3L Paterson, N.J. Kennedy

23 Sean Kilpatrick 6-4 215 G RS FR RS White Plains, N.Y. Notre Dame Prep

24 Kelvin Gaines 6-10 235 C FR HS Ocala, Fla. Arlington Country Day

25 Anthony McBride 6-2 180 G SO HS Cincinnati, Ohio Withrow

30 Anthony McClain 7-0 290 C SR 3L Trenton, N.J. National Christian Academy

32 Ibrahima Thomas 6-11 235 F SR 1L Dakar, Senegal Stoneridge Prep

34 Yancy Gates 6-9 265 F JR 2L Cincinnati, Ohio Withrow

44 JaQuon Parker 6-3 200 G SO 1L Suffolk, Va. King's Fork


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