DePaul Blue Demons vs. No. 14 Louisville Cardinals – Saturday, January 14th, 3:00 p.m. Central – KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Kentucky
Television – Big East TV Network – WCUU – The U Too will carry the game in Chicago
Radio – WSCR AM 670
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Inside the Ville
DePaul (10-6, 1-3) has struggled and gotten off to some difficult starts in their first two Big East road games this season. The slow starts in games at Seton Hall and Villanova have been a major source of frustration for DePaul coach Oliver Purnell.
"I'm not real pleased with our play of late," said Purnell. "Our starts have been horrible our last two starts on the road. That's put us in a hole where we're digging out from throughout the entire game. We've had some pretty decent stretches where we've put some spurts together, which is the personality of our team. When you're digging those kinds of holes, you put so much pressure on your defensive play. You have to play almost flawlessly in order try to catch up. You're not going to do that. We're not a flawless team."
Despite the slow starts, Purnell does feel that this year's edition of the Blue Demons has improved over the squad that finished 1-17 in conference last year.
"I think that we are improving, but you have to prove it on the court," said Purnell.
It isn't just the slow starts, it's also the defense. The Blue Demons are dead last in the Big East in Scoring defense giving up 74.6 points per game and are also last in defensive field goal percentage at 47.5%.
Louisville coach Rick Pitino can probably relate to Purnell in some ways. While the Cardinals come into this game with a number 14 ranking, they've also struggled of late. Louisville (13-4, 1-3) is coming off a 31 point loss on the road at Providence on Tuesday night and has lost two Big East games at home as well.
Purnell is on guard for a Louisville squad that will be looking to exact some revenge following that loss at Providence.
"They're a team that will be very angry or motivated or whatever," said Purnell.
One player who will not be among the angry and motivated for Louisville is senior guard Kyle Kuric. Kyle has been sidelined with a high ankle sprain and is not expected to play on Saturday. It's a big loss for the Cardinals. Kuric was leading the Cards in scoring with 13 points per game. The last time DePaul and Louisville met, Kuric came in off the bench to score a game-high 19 points.
One of the reasons that Louisville has struggled thus far in Big East play is that they lack firepower from beyond the arc. The Cardinals are averaging 31.4% from three point territory.
For the Blue Demons to have a chance in this one, they have to come out energized and not lethargic on the road. Their full court press must be lively. They also have to hope that Pitino doesn't fix all of his team's problems before they take the court on Saturday.
The Last Time
On February 5, 2011, 15th ranked Louisville hung on to defeat DePaul 61-57 at the KFC Yum! Center.
With the Cardinals playing without their leading scorer, Preston Knowles, junior forward Kyle Kuric came off the bench to score 19 points and lead all scorers. Chris Smith and Terrence Jennings added 10 points apiece for Louisville.
Brandon Young led the way for the Blue Demons with 15 points. Fellow sophomore Cleveland Melvin added 12 points in the losing effort.
# NAME HT WT POS CL HOMETOWN (PREVIOUS SCHOOL)
1 Angel Nunez 6-7 190 F FR Washington Heights, N.Y. (Notre Dame Prep)
2 Russ Smith 6-0 160 G SO Brooklyn, N.Y. (Archbishop Molloy/South Kent)
3 Peyton Siva 6-0 180 G JR Seattle, Wash. (Franklin)
4 Rakeem Buckles 6-7 215 F JR Miami, Fla. (Monsignor Pace)
5 Chris Smith 6-2 195 G SR Millstone, N.J. (Manhattan)
10 Gorgui Dieng 6-11 235 C SO Kebemer, Senegal (Covenant/Huntington Prep)
11 Luke Hancock 6-6 200 F JR Roanoke, Va. (George Mason)
12 Zach Price 6-10 235 C FR Louisville, Ky. (Jeffersontown)
13 Mark Jackson, Jr. 6-3 210 G RS FR Brooklyn, Calif. (Taft)
14 Kyle Kuric 6-4 195 G/F SR Evansville, Ind. (Memorial)
15 Tim Henderson 6-2 185 G SO Louisville, Ky. (Christian Academy)
21 Jared Swopshire 6-8 200 F RS JR St. Louis, Mo. (IMG Academy)
22 Elisha Justice 5-10 175 G SO Dorton, Ky. (Shelby Valley)
23 Kevin Ware 6-4 185 G FR Conyers, Ga. (Rockdale County)
24 Chane Behanan 6-6 245 F FR Cincinnati, Ohio (Bowling Green)
25 Wayne Blackshear 6-5 225 G/F FR Chicago, Ill. (Morgan Park)
33 Mike Marra 6-5 200 G JR Smithfield, R.I. (Northfield Mt. Hermon School)
44 Stephan Van Treese 6-8 235 F JR Indianapolis, Ind. (Lawrence North)
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