DePaul Blue Demons (11-20, 2-16) vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (14-15, 4-13) – Tuesday, March 12th, 8:00 p.m. Central - Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY
Television – ESPNU
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After finishing in last place, DePaul (#14 seed, 11-20, 2-16) will be playing in the opening round of the Big East Tournament once again as they will be taking on Rutgers (#11 seed, 14-15, 5-13) on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
This year's Big East Tournament format will be different than year's past, as the Big East used to have 16 teams involved. But with West Virginia's departure to the Big 12 and Connecticut being banned from postseason play this season, the Big East will only have 14 teams competing. The winner of the DePaul-Rutgers game will take on No. 6 seed Notre Dame (23-8, 11-7) in the second round on Wednesday night.
At least DePaul will be playing a team they already beat (and twice in a row dating back to last season), as the Demons disposed of the Scarlet Knights 75-69 on February 16th. In that game, senior guard Worrel Clahar led the way with 19 points, as he absolutely refused to let DePaul lose on the day.
Clahar is playing his best basketball of late and had another 19 points on Saturday against Pittsburgh on Senior Day.
DePaul has not beaten a team twice in the same season since defeating South Florida twice in the 2006-07 season. DePaul is also gunning for its second win in Big East Tournament play since beating Cincinnati in 2009.
It was another disappointing year for DePaul amidst hopes of much more. After mustering only two conference victories this year, Oliver Purnell and company will go back to the drawing board in hopes that the Big East Tournament will give them some new life. The Demons are now on a six-game losing streak since the Rutgers affair and are coming off an 81-66 defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday afternoon.
The Scarlet Knights didn't exactly have themselves a solid season either. Rutgers has only won once since the DePaul game, beating Seton Hall 56-51 on Friday night in their Big East season finale.
Both teams will look at the tournament as a fresh start.
While the Demons were in several games,they just could never get over the hump this season. Perhaps with the fact that they already beat Rutgers once already, maybe that will give them some confidence heading into the tournament.
Rutgers is led by 5-9 dynamo Myles Mack. Mack leads the Scarlet Knights in scoring (13.3 ppg) and posted a career-high 28 points in the first game against DePaul. You can't leave Mack alone at any time, as he can go off at a moment's notice.
Eli Carter, who was Rutgers leading scorer (14.9 ppg), injured his fibula in the previous DePaul game and will be out for the year.
This should make for an emotional tournament as the Big East has undergone a radical new change. After the Catholic, basketball-only schools break off and take the Big East name with them, the conference will say goodbye to Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Louisville and Rutgers. Cincinnati, Connecticut and South Florida will be part of a new revamped and yet to be determined conference name.
Be sure to follow Dan Stack on Twitter @stacdemon as he cover this week's Big East Tournament in New York.
The Last Time
On February 16, 2013 at Allstate Arena, senior guard Worrel Clahar did it all in a 75-69 win over Rutgers.
DePaul coach Oliver Purnell inserted Clahar into the starting lineup, which proved to be the right call as Worrel helped the Blue Demons snap a nine game losing streak.
Clahar scored a career-high 19 points, dished out seven assists, grabbed four rebounds, including a clutch rebound down the stretch, had three steals, grabbed loose balls, and even blocked one shot.
DePaul had four starters finish in double-figures. Brandon Young scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds. Cleveland Melvin contributed with 15 points and Donnavan Kirk added 11 points and seven boards.
While Rutgers had point guard Myles Mack finish with a career-high 28 points, the Blue Demons did a good job defensively on the remainder of the Scarlet Knights. Only Wally Judge reached double-figures with 10 points. Eli Carter left the game with a knee injury after scoring four points in 20 minutes.
# Name Pos. Class Ht. Wt. HS/Hometown
5 CARTER, ELI G So. 6-2 195 St. Anthony/Brewster Academy / Paterson, N.J.
24 GARRETT, VINCENT G/F Jr. 6-5 210 Marshall Metropolitan/Lee College / Chicago, Ill.
23 HYDE, JALEN G Fr. 5-8 160 Franklin / Somerset, N.J.
22 JACK, KADEEM F R-So. 6-9 225 Rice / Queens, N.Y.
21 JOHNSON, AUSTIN F Sr. 6-8 250 Blair Academy / Elkins Park, Pa.
33 JUDGE, WALLY F R-Jr. 6-9 250 Arlington County Day/Kansas State / Washington, D.C.
30 KELLEY, LOGAN G Fr. 6-2 200 Governor Livingston / Mountainside, N.J.
13 KONE, MALICK G/F So. 6-5 200 Blue Ridge School / Conakry, Guinea
35 LEWIS, GREG F So. 6-9 240 St. Frances Academy / Randallstown, Md.
4 MACK, MYLES G So. 5-9 170 St. Anthony / Paterson, N.J.
2 MILLER, DANE G/F Sr. 6-6 215 Rush-Henrietta HS / Rochester, N.Y.
10 POOLE, MIKE G/F Jr. 6-5 195 St. Benedict's Prep / Rosedale, N.Y.
15 RANDALL, DERRICK F/C So. 6-8 240 South Kent School / Brooklyn, N.Y.
1 SEAGEARS, JEROME G So. 6-1 175 Flora MacDonald Academy / Silver Spring, Md.
25 ZURICH, STEPHEN F R-Fr. 6-4 195 Pascack Hills / Montvale, N.J.
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