DePaul Blue Demons vs. Cincinnati Bearcats – Wednesday, January 4, 2006 - 6 p.m. CST – Fifth Third Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio
There is no Chicago television for this game.
Cincinnati – WXIX-TV
WSCR – The Score - AM 1160 - Chicago
WLW-AM 700 - Cincinnati
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It's a New Year, it's a new conference for the DePaul Blue Demons, but the Demons will be in a familiar setting for their Big East opener on Wednesday January 4th 2006. That's when DePaul will travel to Cincinnati for another early season tilt, but now the Demons and the Bearcats are part of the new Big East. This match will be the first game for both teams in the new conference. While certainly the ambience will be different without seeing Bob Huggins on the opposing sideline the game has the makings for a good one. Interim Head Coach Andy Kennedy has done an admirable job filling in for the legendary Cincinnati Icon posting an impressive 11-2 record thus far.
For years, the Fifth Third Arena (Shoemaker Center still to many) has been a house of horrors for the Demons as they been conference rivals in both the Great Midwest and Conference USA. DePaul has not won at Cincinnati since February 20th 1992 by a 71-69 score. Since then, DePaul has been in only two regular season games decided by less than 10 points. The latest disaster at Cincinnati was an 83-54 beat-down on January 6th 2005. While DePaul has won its last three home games vs. the Bearcats (most recently winning 85-66 on February 12th 2005), its another story when playing in Cincinnati. Since DePaul and Cincinnati became conference rivals prior to the 1991-92 season DePaul is 1-15 in Cincinnati with an average margin of victory being 20.2 for the Bearcats.
Reversing this curse will not be easy as Cincinnati is on a roll of late picking up wins against Dayton and LSU to win the Las Vegas Holiday Classic to improve its record to 11-2. Most recently Cincinnati disposed of North Carolina A&T on December 30th by a 105-69 score. The Bearcats have now won eight in a row.
Leading the charge has been the play of the senior duo of James White (18 PPG) and Eric Hicks (14.2 PPG). The Bearcats get a lot of contributions from its seniors also including Armein Kirkland(9.5 PPG), Chad Moore, and Jihad Muhammad (20 three pointers made). However, the most pleasant surprise has been the play of freshman point guard Devan Downey. Downey is second on the team in scoring (14.9 PPG) and leads the team in assists and steals. He's the difference maker for this team. Since he was inserted as the starting point guard, Cincinnati has looked unstoppable. Also helping out is Junior College transfer Cedric McGowan. McGowan has started all 13 games and has chipped in 8.8 PPG and 6.5 RPG.
Cincinnati is as good as any starting five DePaul will see this year, but will depth be their downfall? Only seven players see significant minutes. So look for DePaul Head Coach Jerry Wainwright to use the depth he has and tries to wear the Bearcats down. This has the makings of a track meet as Cincinnati does tend to push it, averaging 83.1 PPG. Both DePaul and Cincinnati are thin up front so look for the guards to be the show. Leading the way for the Demons is the guard play of both Sammy Mejia and Draelon Burns. These two guards have been lighting it up for the Demons, who have won five out of their last six, most recently downing Florida International 72-60 on December 31st at home. Prior to that DePaul was a very commendable 3-1 on a crucial 4 game road trip notching victories at Dayton, Wake Forest, and California. Mejia leads the team in scoring with 15.7 PPG while Burns is second with 10.1 PPG. However the two of them have stepped up their respective games in the last half dozen games played. Since the UAB game, Mejia has averaged 18.3 PPG and Burns 14.6 PPG.
DePaul is not a two man show as they have a balanced attack with Karron Clarke, Jabari Currie, and Wilson Chandler all making key contributions. Wainwright likes to use his bench freely using a nine-man rotation. It would be a ten-man rotation if Wesley Green were available. Green will sit out the game with a foot injury.
Will it be another nightmare in Cincinnati? DePaul having played a brutal non-conference schedule and survived to a 7-4 clip, should not be intimidated by Cincinnati this time around. This is it. The time is now. The new conference gets underway and will it be a familiar ending? For DePaul's sake, lets hope not.
NO NAME HT WT POS CL EXP Hometown High School
1 Chadd Moore 6-2 175 G SR 3L Huntsville, Ala. Oak Hill (Va.) Academy
2 Domonic Tilford 5-11 170 G FR HS Louisville, Ky. Jeffersontown
3 Devan Downey 5-10 175 G FR HS Chester, S.C. Chester
10 Patrick Watt 5-10 190 G FR HS Cincinnati, Ohio Moeller
13 Jihad Muhammad 5-11 175 G SR 1L Plainfield, N.J. Plainfield
14 Eric Hicks 6-6 245 F SR 3L Greensboro, N.C. Dudley
20 Branden Miller 6-4 180 G FR HS Cincinnati, Ohio Indian Hill
21 James White 6-7 200 F SR 3L Kensington, Md. Hargrave Military
23 Ronald Allen 6-9 225 F/C JR TR Los Angeles, Calif. Artesia
30 Cedric McGowan 6-6 230 F JR JC Miami, Fla. Miami Northwest
33 Armein Kirkland 6-8 205 G/F SR 3L Tyler, Texas Lee
Andy Kennedy - Interim Head Coach
Corie Blount - Assistant Coach
Frank Martin - Assistant Coach
Andy Assaley - Assistant to the Head Coach
Dylan Lockwood - Graduate Assistant Coach
Niki Cianciola - Administrative Assistant
Brendan Foley - Head Student Manager
Winona Shaw-Gunn - Administrative Assistant
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