DePaul Blue Demons vs. Western Michigan Broncos – Saturday, November 14th, 8:00 p.m. Central – McGrath-Phillips Arena, Chicago, IL
Television – FOX Sports Regional Networks & The U-Too in Chicago
Radio – WSCR AM 670
The start of the college basketball season is finally here. The Blue Demons open up on Saturday night with the Western Michigan Broncos in Lincoln Park.
This will be the 29th all-time meeting between the two teams.
The Broncos are always a tough team to face and usually do well in the MAC conference. They are coming off a year where they won 20 games, went 10-8 in the MAC, finished in third place in the MAC West and advanced to the College Insider Tournament. That was their third straight season of 20 wins or more.
Western Michigan lost guards Austin Richie and David Brown from that team to graduation. The Broncos will also be playing without forward Connor Tava, who was lost to a broken foot in the pre-season. Tava was going to be the team’s leading returning scorer, rebounder, and assist man.
WMU Coach Steve Hawkins is in 13th year in Kalamazoo. He’s accumulated a record of 123-78 during that time. 10 years ago, Hawkins was a candidate for the DePaul head coaching position after Dave Leitao left for Virginia.
Now Leitao is back in Lincoln Park and getting ready to face WMU on Saturday night in his debut for his second stint as head coach of the Blue Demons.
“They play a very challenging style,” Leitao said of the Broncos. “Over the course of the years, they’ve been a very tough, physically tough, and mentally tough team. They are going to try to beat you to all of the 50-50 balls. They will be the first to the floor and all those kind of things. So they are going to require that you at least do the same if not surpass them in that category. Offensively they are very sound. Defensively, they are in their man-to-man defense. So we’ve got to make sure that our execution is on-par. Offensively, they’ve been a very good continuity offense, in terms of a lot of ball screens and making the back side of your defense really responsive for being in the right places and communicating. We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
Hawkins is offsetting the loss of Brown, Richie, and Tava, by bringing in a pretty athletic bunch of freshmen.
In WMU’s exhibition 107-50 win over Division III Kalamazoo last Saturday, freshman swingman Josh Davis led all scorers with 16 points, six rebounds, and one block, but went four of 12 from the field. Seven foot freshman Seth Dugan got the start at center for the Broncos. Dugan had seven points, eight boards, and blocked three shots. Freshman point guard Bryce Moore came off the bench to add 15 points, seven rebounds, and dished out four assists.
Sophomore Thomas Wilder got the start at point guard and scored 15 points.
Former Chicago St. Rita star A.J. Avery also started for WMU and had six points and seven rebounds.
Based on the score of that game, it’s safe to say that WMU likes to go uptempo.
Controlling the glass will be an important key to this game. WMU is known to put Dugan (7-0), sophomore Khadim Dieng (6-11), and sophomore Drake Lamont (6-10) in the frontcourt at the same time.
If you go by College Basketball ratings guru Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, this game is close to being equal. Pomeroy has DePaul ranked 112th and Western Michigan at 120th in his pre-season ratings.
DePaul is anticipating the return of senior forward Myke Henry who missed last week’s exhibition win over Caldwell University due to a slight shoulder injury.
The Last Time
On December 9, 1987 at the Rosemont Horizon, the Blue Demons defeated Western Michigan 94-64.
Western Michigan Roster
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown (Prev School)
0 Bryce Moore G 6-2 190 Fr. Indianapolis, Ind. (Park Tudor)
1 Tucker Haymond G/F 6-6 220 Jr. Seattle, Wash. (Garfield)
2 Connar Tava F 6-6 245 Sr. Macomb, Mich. (Warren De La Salle)
3 Josh Davis G/F 6-5 175 Fr. Detroit, Mich. (Henry J. Ford)
4 Jared Klein G 6-2 175 Sr. Otsego, Mich. (Otsego)
10 Thomas Wilder G 6-3 185 So. Montgomery, Ill. (Quakerdale Prep (Iowa))
11 Ryan Wade G 5-9 170 Fr. Laingsburg, Mich. (Laingsburg)
15 Khadim Dieng C 6-11 200 So. Senegal (NorthPointe Christian (Mich.))
22 Joeviair Kennedy G/F 6-4 195 Fr. Muskegon, Mich. (Muskegon)
32 Taylor Perry G 6-5 200 Sr. Rochester, Mich. (Rochester)
34 Anthony Avery F 6-7 205 Sr. Chicago, Ill. (St. Rita of Cascia)
40 Kellen McCormick F 6-8 215 RJr. West Bloomfield, Mich. (Notre Dame Prep)
42 Drake LaMont C 6-10 240 So. Plantation, Fla. (American Heritage)
50 Seth Dugan C 7-0 240 Fr. Otsego, Mich. (Otsego)