DePaul Blue Demons vs. UConn Huskies – Tuesday, March 6th, 11 a.m. Central – Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
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As DePaul gets set to play in the first round of the Big East Tournament on Tuesday afternoon at Madison Square Garden, it will be a case of déjà vu.
Once again, DePaul (12-18, 3-15) will be designated as the #16 seed and for a second year in a row they will play the Connecticut Huskies (#9 seed) in the opening game of the Big East Tournament. Last year Connecticut (18-12, 8-10) easily disposed of the Demons, winning 97-71 en route to winning the Big East Tournament and then a few weeks later capturing the NCAA Championship.
So, do the UConn Huskies have what it takes to pull off a similar feat this year?
Well, DePaul will be determined to not let history repeat itself. DePaul is hoping a little momentum can carry them as they take on the same team that beat them 80-54 just a little more than two weeks ago.
After DePaul beat Seton Hall 86-58 on Saturday, the Demons will go into their matchup with the Huskies feeling a lot better about themselves. On the flip side the Huskies have to feel good about their chances for a Big East Tournament run after they beat Pittsburgh 74-65 on Saturday, which was marked by the return of Coach Jim Calhoun.
Although the Huskies have struggled all year trying to put it all together, they do possess some of the league's elite talent.
Jeremy Lamb and his 17.6 points a game rank fourth in the league. For his work this season, Lamb was just honored by being named to the Big East first team. Shabazz Napier provides a calming influence at point guard and is second on the team in scoring (12.9 PPG) while placing third in the Big East in assists (5.9 APG).
However, the most trouble for DePaul will probably be the combination of Alex Oriakhi and Andre Drummond under the boards. In their game at Storrs, Connecticut on February 15, DePaul was thoroughly out-rebounded 47-22.
For DePaul to have a shot they have to do a good job of limiting the Huskies' second chances opportunities and rebound the ball better.
For UConn, there should be a sense of urgency as the Huskies could play themselves into the NCAA Tournament with a good showing at Madison Square Garden. A loss to DePaul could be devastating for the Huskies' NCAA hopes. But, DePaul, after hammering Seton Hall on Saturday, now have experience of bursting someone's bubble.
Can they do it again?
Well, if DePaul can play like they did on Saturday then anything is possible. Another win would be a tremendous confidence boost and something to build on in the offseason.
NO NAME HT/WT POSITION YR/CLASS HOMETOWN
4 Brendan Allen 6-3/187 Guard FR Windsor, Conn.
21 Kyle Bailey 6-3/170 Guard SR Lancaster, N.H.
11 Ryan Boatright 6-0/160 Guard FR Aurora, Ill.
25 Michael Bradley 6-10/225 Center/Forward RS FR Chattanooga, Tenn.
14 P.J. Cochrane 6-2/200 Guard SR Newtown, Conn.
2 DeAndre Daniels 6-8/195 Forward FR Los Angeles, Calif.
12 Andre Drummond 6-10/270 Center FR Middletown, Conn.
5 Niels Giffey 6-7/205 Guard/Forward SO Berlin, Germany
3 Jeremy Lamb 6-5/180 Guard/Forward SO Norcross, Ga.
13 Shabazz Napier 6-1/171 Guard SO Roxbury, Mass.
10 Tyler Olander 6-9/225 Forward SO Mansfield, Conn.
34 Alex Oriakhi 6-9/240 Forward/Center JR Lowell, Mass.
22 Roscoe Smith 6-8/205 Forward SO Baltimore, Md.
23 Benjamin Stewart 6-5/205 Forward SR Denver, Colo.
40 Ethan Waite 5-10/165 Guard SR East Hartford, Conn.
1 Enosch Wolf 7-1/245 Center SO Goettingen, Germany
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