Blue Demons 19th in Preseason Coaches' Poll

CHICAGO - With four starters and nine players returning from last season's NCAA Tournament team, the DePaul Blue Demons are ranked No. 19 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' preseason Top 25. DePaul is one of four BIG EAST programs in the preseason poll.

Rutgers leads the BIG EAST contingent tied at No. 5 followed by Connecticut at No. 9. Notre Dame is slated at No. 15 followed by the Blue Demons at No. 19. The BIG EAST is one of four conferences to place four teams in the top 25. Joining the league are the SEC, ACC and Big 12. Tennessee of the SEC is preseason No. 1 followed by Duke, LSU and Ohio State. Defending National Champion Baylor is ranked seventh in the preseason poll.

The Blue Demons open up exhibition play on Saturday, Nov. 5 against St. Xavier (Ill.) at the DePaul Athletic Center. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. and is the first game of a DePaul basketball doubleheader with a men's exhibition game at 7 p.m.

DePaul heads into the 2005-06 season looking for the fourth straight 20-win season and fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Preseason All-American and National Player of the Year candidate Khara Smith is back for her senior season along with starters Erin Carney, Allie Quigley and Jenna Rubino from the 2004-05 squad that led the nation in scoring and assists per game.

ESPN/USA TODAY PRESEASON TOP 25

1. Tennessee

2. Duke

3. LSU

4. Ohio State

5T. Rutgers

5T. Georgia

7. Baylor

8. North Carolina

9. Connecticut

10. Stanford

11. Michigan State

12. Texas

13. Texas Tech

14. Maryland

15. Notre Dame

16. Vanderbilt

17. Minnesota

18. Arizona State

19. DePaul

20. Temple

21. Utah

22. Southern California

23. Purdue

24. North Carolina State

25. Oklahoma

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