DePaul Blue Demons vs. Kentucky Wildcats - Monday, November 20th,
8:00 p.m. (CST) – Lahaina Civic Center, Maui, Hawaii
Television – ESPN2
Radio - None
Internet Radio Links to Listen Live -
WeAreDePaul.com Chat Room Link
Official Kentucky Athletics Site
Kentucky Fans Site
Kentucky Sports Report
Game Preview – Sun, Sand, Surf, Hoops, Trash Talk & Flowered Shirts
The DePaul men's basketball team, in games at Bradley and Northwestern, have found themselves in a real frigid state of mind. Perhaps sunny Maui, Hawaii is a place where they can turn their season around. After a confidence building 71-41 thrashing of Eastern Illinois they now travel to Maui to take on one of the premier programs in America in the University of Kentucky. They face the Wildcats in the first round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center. As of Sunday, Kentucky is currently ranked 22nd in both the AP and Coaches polls.
Kentucky is now 2-0 after an easy 79-56 win over Mississippi Valley State on Friday night. Kentucky may have lost some star power from last year with the likes of Rajon Rondo and Patrick Sparks gone, but they keep plugging along. They now look to junior guards Ramel Bradley (16.5 ppg) and Joe Crawford (12.5 ppg) to ignite their offense. They are the glue, but inside presence Randolph Morris (15 ppg) is a load to handle and he opens things up for the Wildcat guards. This gives the Wildcats a good inside out combination.
This is the fourth trip the Demons will make to Maui. The Demons are 3-6 all time in Maui, never advancing past the first round. And only one win has come outside of host Chaminade, and that was against Stanford in the consolation round back in 1992 by a score of 76-67.
Kentucky on the other hand has had great success. The Wildcats have won this tournament once already in 1993. Plus Kentucky has used this tournament for future success says Kentucky Head coach Tubby Smith. "Every time we've played there, we've put together a pretty good year," Smith told the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The Wildcats won the NCAA tournament back in 1998 after losing earlier that year to Arizona in the fall of 1997 in Maui. In 1993, they won in a classic battle over Arizona with a tip in at the last second from Jeff Brassow that sent Kentucky nation into a fervor. That year Kentucky finished 27-7. In 2002, Kentucky lost to Virginia in the second round but roared after that, winning 26 straight before falling to Marquette in the Sweet 16 and ending up 32-4.
For DePaul this is an opportunity to make some noise and build up some confidence. For senior Sammy Mejia, this is a challenge that he looks forward to. "I'm excited. (It's) good weather, (and a reason to) get out of Chicago for a week."
For junior co-captain Karron Clarke, this is a time for a friendly rivalry to continue. You see, he and Bradley go back to their days growing up in Brooklyn, New York.
"Oh yeah, he's (Bradley) been talking trash all summer. So I'm looking forward to beating them," Clarke said with a sly grin.
DePaul must continue to do what they were able to do against Eastern Illinois and that is to menace the passing lanes and get out in transition before Kentucky can set up their defense. DePaul is still struggling going up against zones. They must attack and control the pace.
If the Blue Demons can get a solid contribution from the bench that will certainly help matters. Winning easily against Eastern Illinois allowed head coach Jerry Wainwright to sit the starters in the second half. The bench responded with 26 points off the bench in a very balanced effort.
For Wainwright tough games are nothing new to him with his penchant for grueling schedules, but how about the beach, Coach? "I lived at the beach for eight years," Wainwright said. "So sand is sand to me. But I ain't a water guy, showers are enough." Wainwright joked. "It's (the Maui Invitational) something that was setup so guys could avoid playing all those, as (Dick) Vitale would say cupcakes. But what a field! It will be a great experience for our kids."
DePaul and Wainwright do have their work cut out for them and hopefully the win over EIU has their spirits up for the challenge ahead. For Wainwright he has the ultimate respect for Smith. "Coach Smith is one of the best coaches in the country, but why not play them in a neutral arena? I get to wear a flowered shirt. So what could be bad about that?"
Kentucky Wildcats Roster
No. Name Pos. Ht./Wt. Cl./Exp. Hometown/High School/Last College
1 Porter, Michael G 6-2/180 FR/HS Modesto, Calif./Modesto Christian
3 Bradley, Ramel G 6-2/176 JR/2L New York, N.Y./The Pendleton School, Fla.
5 Jasper, Derrick G 6-6/213 FR/HS Paso Robles, Calif./Paso Robles
10 Obrzut, Lukasz C 7-1/265 SR/3L Gliwice, Poland/Bridgton, Maine Acad.
13 Perry, Bobby F 6-8/215 SR/3L Durham, N.C./Hillside
20 Meeks, Jodie G 6-5/206 FR/HS Norcross, Ga./Norcross
21 Stevenson, Perry F 6-9/178 FR/HS Lafayette, La./Northside
23 Thomas, Sheray F 6-8/236 SR/3L Montreal, Quebec/Riverdale Baptist, Md.
32 Crawford, Joe G 6-5/211 JR/2L Detroit, Mich./Renaissance
30 Perry, Dwight G 6-0/185 FR/HS Durham, N.C./Southern
33 Morris, Randolph F/C 6-11/259 JR/2L Atlanta, Ga./Landmark Christian
42 Coury, Mark F 6-9/239 FR/HS West Bloomfield, Mich./Detroit County Day
43 Carter, Jared C 7-2/250 SO/1L Georgetown, Ky./Scott County
Coaches and Staff
Tubby Smith - Head Coach
David Hobbs - Associate Head Coach
Reggie Hanson - Assistant Coach
Scott Rigot - Assistant Coach
Shawn Finney - Director of Basketball Operations
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