DePaul Blue Demons (3-1) vs. #14 Wichita State Shockers (5-0) – Monday, November 25th, 9:00 p.m. Central – Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
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On Monday night, the Blue Demons face their toughest opponent so far this season. Wichita State may also be the toughest opponent that they face all year too. As of this writing, the Shockers are ranked 14th in the nation by the Associated Press.
Wichita State is coming off a season where they advanced to the NCAA Final Four. On the way to the Final Four, Wichita State defeated Pittsburgh, Gonzaga, LaSalle, and Ohio State.
The Shockers got to the Final Four last season by getting it done with defense.
This is something that DePaul knows all too well. The Demons experienced WSU's defense first hand in the Cancun Challenge one year ago this week. On that night, WSU dismantled DePaul and held them to 31 percent shooting.
Wichita State ranks 35th in the nation in Field Goal Percentage Defense at 39.5%.
Despite losing guard Malcolm Armstead and forward Carl Hall, the Shockers return three starters from that Final Four team. Senior forward Cleanthony Early leads the way with 14.8 points per game and 7.4 rebounds per game thus far this season. Former Rockford Auburn point guard Fred Van Vleet is starting now and contributes 14.2 points per game. Redshirt sophomore guard Ron Baker adds 13 points per game.
The Blue Demons are looking to end a 44 game losing streak against ranked opponents. DePaul hasn't beaten a ranked opponent since January 3rd, 2008 when the Demons defeated 17th ranked Villanova.
For DePaul to end that streak and pull off an upset, they are going to have to match WSU's defensive intensity. It sounds like a cliché to say that the Blue Demons have to bring their "A" game, but they do. An "A+" game would help. DePaul has to play near flawless basketball for 40 minutes.
"We will have to play physical and sound basketball," DePaul senior guard Edwind McGhee said in an online chat a few days ago.
Wichita State presents the biggest challenge that DePaul has faced so far.
"I really feel like we need this test and a test it is," DePaul coach Oliver Purnell said of the Shockers on WHB Radio. "I watched them on TV and I thought they were every bit as good, if not better than they were last year, at this time. It will not only be a test just overall, but a physical test. Their toughness is one thing that separates them. Not only are they a skilled team with great athletes that can shoot the ball from the three. They've got a great leader in Van Vleet. Baker is an outstanding three point shooter and an outstanding athlete. Their defensive toughness is something we haven't gone against at that level yet."
They are calling this a neutral court game. The WSU fanbase travels well and will be out in force in nearby Kansas City. Needless to say, there will be nothing neutral about this game.
The Blue Demons will play either BYU or Texas in Kansas City on Tuesday night. The game will be televised on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.
The Last Time
On November 20th, 2012 in Cancun, Mexico, Wichita State took down the Demons 75-62 in the semifinals of the Cancun Challenge.
Malcolm Armstead led the way for the Shockers with 17 points. WSU senior Demetric Williams came off the bench to score a career-high16 points.
Brandon Young led DePaul with 19 points and five assists. Moses Morgan contributed with 15 points off the bench for the Blue Demons. DePaul shot 31 percent from the field.
- Junior College transfer Forrest Robinson is uncertain for Monday's game. He suffered a high ankle sprain three weeks ago.
- Wichita State forward Darius Carter is uncertain for the game. He had been sidelined with a sprained right foot.
Wichita State Roster
No. Number Name Pos. Position Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown (Prev School)
31 Baker, Ron G 6-3 213 RSo. Scott City, Kan. (Scott City HS)
25 Bowles, D. J. G 6-2 175 Fr. Cleveland, Tenn. (Oldsmar Christian)
5 Bush, Zach F 6-6 190 RFr. Wichita, Kan. (Goddard Eisenhower HS)
12 Carter, Darius F 6-7 235 Jr. Akron, Ohio (Vincennes JC)
20 Coleby, Kadeem C 6-9 251 Sr. Nassau, Bahamas (Louisiana-Lafayette) (Christian Life Center Academy)
32 Cotton, Tekele G 6-2 209 Jr. Marietta, Ga. (Whitefield Academy)
11 Early, Cleanthony F 6-8 219 Sr. Middletown, N.Y. (Sullivan JC)
1 Green, Derail F 6-7 208 RFr. Houston, Texas (Klein Forest HS)
10 Holland, Ria'n G 6-0 152 Fr. Hope Mills, N.C. (South View HS)
0 Lufile, Chadrack F 6-9 266 Sr. Burlington, Ontario, Canada (Coffeyville CC)
24 Morris, Shaquille F 6-7 268 Fr. Edmond, Okla. (Memorial HS)
14 Simon, John Robert G 5-11 166 Fr. Oklahoma City, Okla. (Putnam City North)
23 VanVleet, Fred G 5-11 194 So. Rockford, Ill. (Auburn HS)
3 Wessel, Evan G 6-5 215 RSo. Wichita, Kan. (Heights HS)
15 Wiggins, Nick G 6-6 192 Sr. Toronto, Canada (Wabash Valley [Ill.] College) (Godby HS/Tallahassee, Fla.)
DePaul vs. Wichita State Game Preview
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