DePaul vs. UAB Game Preview

The Blue Demons take on the "Controlled Chaos" of UAB on Tuesday night.

Key Information

DePaul Blue Demons vs. UAB Blazers – Tuesday, December 6th, 7:30 p.m. – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL

Television - None

Radio - WSCR AM 670 Chicago

WYDE 101.1-FM, The Source - Birmingham

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Controlled Chaos

DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright refers to the frenetic style that the UAB Blazers bring to the basketball court as "controlled chaos". UAB coach Mike Anderson calls it "the fastest 40 minutes in basketball". Whatever you call it, it will be a challenge for DePaul on Tuesday night.

"Their defense is based on mentally tiring you," said DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright. "Mike Anderson is one of my best friends in coaching. I think he is a great coach. He could put guys out there and play anyone in the country. His kids believe in him."

Following is Dan Stack's preview of Tuesday's game…

DePaul's 2005 non-conference schedule has had a redemption theme to it. DePaul's first three games this season were against Bradley, Northwestern, and Northern Illinois. All three games were defeats from the previous year, where those losses were critical for DePaul not being included in the 2005 NCAA Tournament. So far the sledding has been rough on the redemption crusade with DePaul only avenging a loss to Northwestern, defeating them 59-49 on November 26th. Bradley and Northern Illinois still got the better of them in the 2005 rematches (Bradley winning 75-60 on 11/19 and NIU winning 77-68 on 11/28).

However, redemption may be best served in DePaul's next game on December 6th vs. a very familiar foe, former Conference USA rival, the UAB Blazers. You see, despite the bad losses to Bradley, Northwestern, and Northern Illinois, probably no team put the nail in DePaul's 2005 NCAA tournament chances quite like the UAB Blazers.

DePaul had two chances to beat UAB and fortify their NCAA resume, first in the regular season in Birmingham. Despite DePaul scrapping tooth and nail, the Blue Demons lost in overtime 81-80 on March 2nd. If that was not hard enough to swallow, DePaul had another crack at the Blazers, just 8 days later in Memphis in the second round of the Conference USA tournament. In a game, that saw DePaul lead most of the way, all it took was a three from Chicago's own Demario Eddins with less than one second to go to finally bounce DePaul from NCAA tournament contention with a 59-56 loss. From there UAB proceeded to go the NCAA tournament and DePaul to the NIT.

So the setting is different now, as this year DePaul faces UAB as an out of conference game with UAB still part of Conference USA while DePaul is now a member of the Big East. As if being in different conferences now will diminish this hot rivalry? DePaul still leads the overall series 18-13. If that was not enough, even new Head Coach Jerry Wainwright has developed a rivalry with UAB playing them the last two years while he was coaching at Richmond. Richmond took a 96-81 decision last year while UAB won 83-75 in 2003.

The Blazers pose quite a threat to the Blue Demons with their frenetic run and gun style. UAB comes into the game with a 3-1 record (most recently winning at Nebraska by a score of 73-72 this past Saturday). UAB is yet another senior laden team DePaul will face this year with Carldell "Squeaky" Johnson back pacing an engine that seems to never slow down. Johnson is averaging seven assists per game (but only averaging 6.7 PPG) while the aforementioned Eddins is leading the Blazers (and Conference USA) in scoring with a 20.7 PPG average. It was Eddins that hit the game winning shot against DePaul last year and the game winner at Nebraska on Saturday. They are an exciting one-two punch that thrive in the transition game. Also providing some senior leadership are 6-2 guard Marvett McDonald (10 PPG), 6-7 forward Brandon Tobias (5 PPG and team leading 4.3 RPG), and 6-5 guard Derrick Broom (3.3 PPG).

While UAB tries to run and gun (coming in 3rd in the conference in scoring at 80.3 PPG) their defense has let them down by also averaging 72.3 PPG (good for tenth in team defense in the conference) and also allowing their opponents to shoot a CUSA worst 52.3% against them. UAB also is vulnerable on the boards while on the average of letting their opponents grab 37 rebounds while UAB themselves only corral 31 a night.

So for DePaul, the key is for the guards (namely 6-4 freshman Jabari Currie and 6-1 Sophomore Cliff Clinkscales) to take care of the ball and play smart. Once they break pressure, look for swingmen Sammy Mejia (12.6 PPG) and Karron Clarke (11.6 PPG) to get the ball and look to score.

The game will be a contrast of styles, and the big question is who will maintain control and dictate the pace? The key is for DePaul to take care of the ball, and rebound (considering vs. Bucknell they were out-rebounded 34-20) and not get into a track meet. However with UAB expected to press, Wainwright will likely go to the bench more then he ever has this season so expect a lot of Draelon Burns, Wes Green, Marcus Heard, Lorenzo Thompson, and possibly Rashad Woods.

Also noteworthy will be how Marlon Brumfield's injured ankle will be? His scoring (2.2 PPG) will not be missed, but his rebounding (4 RPG in 19 minutes) and senior leadership will be missed.

So far the theme this year is inconsistency. It's been a loss, win, loss, win, loss (with DePaul most recently losing on Saturday to Bucknell 57-52). So Tuesday means win, right? Well, maybe, but UAB does pose lots of problems and they won't go down without a fight.

UAB Roster

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown/Last School

0 Carldell Johnson G 5-10 180 SR New Orleans, La./Salt Lake CC

1 Maurice Gibbs G 6-2 200 JR Carbondale, Ill./Moberly Area (Mo.) CC

4 Paul Delaney G 6-2 200 SO Decatur, Ga./Chamblee

5 Marvett McDonald G 6-2 170 SR Memphis, Tenn./Southeastern (Iowa) JC

12 Reed Davis G 6-1 180 SR Birmingham, Ala./Altamont

13 Michael Anderson G 5-11 170 RS FR Birmingham, Ala./Hoover

15 Frank Holmes F 6-9 210 SO Somerville, Tenn./Fayett-Ware

21 Lawrence Kinnard F 6-8 210 FR Memphis, Tenn./Raleigh-Egypt

23 Demario Eddins F 6-7 190 SR Chicago, Ill./Winchendon Prep

24 Wen Mukubu G/F 6-6 205 JR Miami, Fla./Arkansas

31 Richard Jones G 6-5 210 SR Oklahoma City, Okla./Douglass

42 Derrick Broom G 6-5 200 SR Cartersville, Ga./Woodland

44 Brandon Tobias F 6-7 220 SR Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Dillard

45 Roderick Ollie F 6-5 220 FR Moorhead, Miss./Indianola Gentry


Mike Anderson - Head Coach

T.J. Cleveland - Assistant Coach

Chris Giles - Assistant Coach

Matt Zimmerman - Assistant Coach

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