DePaul Blue Demons vs. No. 7 Xavier Musketeers – Saturday, January 30th, 1 p.m. Central – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
Television – CBS Sports Network
Radio – WSCR AM 670
After a tough loss to Butler Wednesday, DePaul will not have it any easier come Saturday. In fact, it gets a lot more difficult as the Blue Demons get set to host the No. 7-ranked Xavier Musketeers on Saturday in a rematch of game they lost 84-64 back on January 12th.
The Musketeers have consistently been not only one of the Big East's best teams but one of the nation's best, as Xavier has been a staple in the top-10 for the better part of two months. Head coach Chris Mack's squad is now 18-2 overall and 6-2 in the Big East and one game behind Villanova for first place.
Xavier comes into Saturday's affair with a lot of momentum after winning on the road against Providence, 75-68, on Tuesday. It was Xavier’s first win against a top-10 team on the road in 20 years. In that game, the Musketeers showed you how they have been winning all season-— with defense, balance and depth.
The Musketeers held Providence to just a measly 31.4 percent shooting from the field (plus a horrid 20.6 percent from three-point range). Xavier also had five players score in double figures in Tuesday's game.
Balance and depth has been Xavier’s calling card all season. Mack has four players averaging double-figures in scoring with two others averaging between 8.6 and 9.7 points per game. Trevon Bluiett is first in scoring with 15.4 points per game. Remember, he went off for a career high 24 points the last time DePaul and Xavier met.
James Farr and Jalen Reynolds are a couple of big men for Xavier who are hard to contain on the blocks. There is a reason Xavier is the best rebounding team in the Big East. Both could go for a double-double at a moment's notice. Farr leads the Musketeers in rebounding (9.1 rpg, which ranks third in the Big East) while adding 10.8 points per game. Reynolds adds 9.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
Xavier's two other double-digit scorers are Myles Davis (11 points and a team-best 3.8 assists per game) and Edmond Sumner (10.7 points per game). If you recall, Sumner missed the first meeting with a concussion.
Given Xavier's patented toughness and commitment to defense, it is of paramount importance that DePaul take care of the ball and box out. Turnovers, or lack thereof, will play a key role in any chance for a victory for DePaul. In the game at Xavier, DePaul coughed up the ball 14 times. Taking care of the ball has always been a big bugaboo for DePaul this season.
In any event, there is a reason Xavier is ranked as high as they are. The Musketeers may be just too much for DePaul to handle again.
The Last Time
On January 12, 2016 at the Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, the seventh ranked Xavier Musketeers handed DePaul a 84-64 defeat.
Myke Henry led the way for DePaul with 16 points and eight rebounds. R.J. Curington added 11 points.
Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett led all scorers with 24 points.
NO. NAME YR. POS. HT. WT. HOMETOWN / HIGHSCHOOL
0 Larry Austin Jr. So. Guard 6-2 179 Springfield, Ill. / Lanphier
1 Jalen Reynolds Jr. Forward 6-10 238 Detroit, Mich. / Brewster Academy
2 James Farr Sr. Forward 6-10 244 Evanston, Ill. / Maine Central Insitute
3 Ashanti Burgess Fr. Guard 6-1 170 Louisville, Kentucky / St. Xavier
4 Edmond Sumner Fr. Guard 6-6 183 Detroit, Mich. / Country Day
5 Trevon Bluiett So. Guard 6-6 208 Indianapolis, Ind. / Park Tudor
10 Remy Abell Sr. Guard 6-4 197 Louisville, Ky. / Eastern
13 Makindé London Fr. Forward 6-10 220 Nashville, Tenn. / Montverde
15 Myles Davis Jr. Guard 6-2 188 Plainfield, N.J. / Notre Dame Prep
20 Alex Bergen Jr. Guard 6-5 200 Cincinnati, Ohio / Oak Hills
21 Tim Stainbrook Jr. Forward 6-6 200 Bay Village, Ohio / Lakewood St. Edward
22 Kaiser Gates Fr. Forward 6-8 217 Alpharetta, Ga. / St. Francis
32 Kevin Coker Sr. Forward 6-6 200 Plainfield, Ill. / Plainfield South
35 RaShid Gaston Sr. Forward 6-9 240 Warren, Ohio / Warren G. Harding
54 Sean O'Mara So. Forward/Center 6-10 247 Glen Ellyn, Ill. / Benet Academy
55 J.P. Macura So. Guard 6-5 203 Lakeville, Minn. / Lakeville North