DePaul vs. Eastern Illinois Game Preview

WeAreDePaul.com's Dan Stack previews the matchup between the DePaul Blue Demons and the Eastern Illinois Panthers in Rosemont, Illinois on Friday night...

Key Information

DePaul Blue Demons vs. EIU Panthers - Friday, November 17th, 7:30 p.m. - Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL

Television - None

Radio - None

Internet Radio Links to Listen Live -

DePaul SportsJuice Broadcast

WEIU- Eastern Broadcast

WeAreDePaul.com Chat Room Link

Chat Room

Official EIU Athletics Site

EIUPanthers.Com


Game Preview - There's No Place Like Home

After a very disappointing 0-2 start, The DePaul Blue Demons are looking for answers. After what was considered the easy part of a grueling schedule, the losses to Bradley and Northwestern have put the Blue Demons in a hole that the team is trying to dig out of. It only gets harder when they have to go to Maui to face Kentucky (and two more with possibilities being UCLA, Chaminade, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Oklahoma, and Purdue) as well as home dates with Wake Forest and California. Not to mention more road dates with UAB and Rhode Island. But before soaking up some fun (or lack of considering the schedule and start) in the sun in Maui, DePaul has a tussle with in-state rival Eastern Illinois on Friday night.

DePaul has to have something to rally around with the poor start and hopefully some home cooking is the right remedy before the Maui Classic. Beating Eastern Illinois offers a chance to improve on team morale. However, DePaul at this stage cannot afford to take this team or any team for granted. This is the same program that put a major scare into Demon fans back in the fall of 2004. If it wasn't for a Marlon Brumfield tip in, the Demons could have lost their first game ever to the Panthers. In all DePaul leads the series 7-0.

The Panthers don't appear to be that good of a challenge, but then again to some, neither were Bradley and Northwestern. Currently the Panthers are 1-3 after posting their first victory over Indiana-South Bend on Wednesday night. Prior to that win, Eastern Illinois came back from the Iowa State Classic dropping three consecutive decisions to Louisiana Monroe, UC-Riverside, and to host Iowa State. Like the Demons back in 2004, the home team was lucky to escape with a two point win.

The Panthers are coached by Mike Miller who is in his second year after previously being an assistant at Kansas State. The sledding was tough in Miller's first year with the club as they struggled and finished 6-21. But Miller likes his program and sees the potential upside at Eastern Illinois. "I believe this is a great time to become the head coach at Eastern Illinois," Miller said of his hiring in 2005. "There is a very strong foundation at EIU...as an academic institution, as an athletic program and as a basketball program."

The team is led by 6-6 wing Bobby Catchings. Catchings comes from a basketball family. His father, Robert, played at the University of Oregon. His uncle Harvey Catchings played in the NBA. Bobby's cousin Tamika Catchings plays for the Indiana Fever of the WNBA and cousin Tauja played for the University of Illinois women's team. Catchings is the only Panther averaging double digits in points with 14 ppg, although guards Jon'Tee Willhite (6-1 9.0 ppg) and Mike Robinson (5-11 8.7 ppg) come close. As with most mid-major programs, the Panthers are led by guards but are suspect down low. Although they are not that big, they have outrebounded their opponents 35-33 on average.

The good news is that on the surface this team struggles to score, shooting only 38% to opponents 43%. It gets even worse from three point land as they are an abysmal 23%. DePaul must pound it inside to open up an inside-out game. DePaul has talent and it's high time they show it. Sammy Mejia and Wilson Chandler lead the team with both averaging 11.5 ppg.

But DePaul needs a total team effort and Mejia and Chandler can't do it alone. Juniors Karron Clarke and Draelon Burns need to snap out of their funks too. It also would be helpful they get a semblance of an inside game. Senior Marcus Heard is doing an okay job (6.5 ppg and 6 rpg), but it would help if Wesley Green or Lorenzo Thompson can pitch in.

DePaul needs to push the refresh button and go at it with a new attitude. If they can't get a win at home vs. Eastern Illinois and get some kinks out, then the Chicago winter will get a lot colder this year.

Eastern Illinois Roster

# PLAYER NAME POS HT WT YR HOMETOWN (HS/JC)

3 Mike Robinson G 5-11 180 So Chicago, Ill. (Hales Franciscan)

5 Gino Myers-Kyles G 6-4 190 Jr Mobile, Ala. (Williamson/Faulkner State CC)

10 Romain Martin G 6-3 180 Fr Minneapolis, Minn. (North)

12 Billy Parrish F 6-4 200 So Naperville, Ill. (Neuqua Valley)

14 Bobby Catchings F/G 6-6 200 Jr Naperville, Ill. (Neuqua Valley)

15 Julio Anthony G 6-4 190 Jr Charlotte, N.C. (Victory Christian/ Cowley County [KS] CC)

20 Justin Brock F 6-8 240 Fr Fowler, Ill. (Liberty)

22 Brandon D'Amico G 6-4 185 Fr Geneva, Ill. (Geneva)

23 Freddie Perry G 5-9 155 RS-Fr East St. Louis, Ill. (Cahokia)

33 Jon'Tee Willhite G 6-1 180 Jr Kalamazoo, Mich. (Loy Norrix/Triton [IL] CC)

40 Bobby Jolliff F 6-8 205 Fr Hartsville, Ind. (Hauser)

41 Jake Byrne C 6-8 230 Jr Elsberry, Mo. (Elsberry)

55 Ousmane Cisse C 6-8 250 Fr Abidjan, Ivory Coast (Community Christian School [GA])

HEAD COACH: Mike Miller (2nd year)

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