DePaul Blue Demons vs. #3 Kansas Jayhawks - Saturday, December 8th, 1:00 p.m. – Allen Fieldhouse - Lawrence, Kansas
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Game Preview – Christians vs. Lions?
DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright sees playing in Lawrence, Kansas like a trip to ancient Rome. "We have a big game coming up, I think it's in the Colliseum, isn't it?" asked Jerry. "It's us against the Lions over in the Colliseum."
Can DePaul duplicate some early December magic again by beating a Kansas like they did last year? The going will be tough as Kansas is running like a finely tuned machine while racing out to an 8-0 record and currently sitting # 3 in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls. And this time DePaul will have to travel to one of the most legendary college basketball arenas in Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas is coming off an 85-47 win over Eastern Washington on Wednesday at home. The Jayhawks have beaten some pretty good squads in Pac 10 schools Arizona and USC.
The buildup for this game is much like it was last year. Last December #5 Kansas was sitting pretty at 6-1 having just beaten Florida and taking on a struggling DePaul team that was just 2-4 after returning home from the Maui Invitational. The Blue Demons, led by a possessed Sammy Mejia, came back from down 14 in the second half and scored a 64-57 win that ultimately put them back on track towards a solid season.
This year the buildup seems to be following the same script as Kansas looks dominant in their top five position, while DePaul looks vulnerable at 2-2 after losing some games that they could have and should have won, notably the home game vs. North Carolina A&T.
Kansas is a very physical and athletic team. They are deep and talented at every position and have the makings of a Final Four team. They are well balanced with five players averaging double figures in points. Although, one of those players Sherron Collins (Chicago native and Crane alumni) will likely not be ready to play with an injured left foot. Regardless, the Jayhawks are dangerous.
Mario Chalmers (12.4 ppg) is the engine that makes the Jayhawks run. He can score at any time, but he does like to get his teammates involved. Head coach Bill Self can either look at smooth scoring wing Brandon Rush (10.3 ppg) to score or by getting it into the hands of talented big men Darrell Arthur (14 ppg) or Darnell Jackson (11.6 ppg and 6.8 rpg).
Also supplying steady play is the veteran poise of senior guards Russell Robinson (7.1 ppg) and Rodrick Stewart (6.9 ppg). It does not stop there as Kansas is deep and tall in the frontcourt with four guys on the team 6-8 or bigger getting regular minutes with Sasha Kaun providing a nice presence down low as well.
With Kansas it's pick your poison as they can beat you in multiple ways.
DePaul has not played since they outlasted Texas A&M Corpus Christi 85-70 on November 28th. In that game DePaul senior Draelon Burns erupted for 32 points on the strength of going a perfect eight for eight from three-point range. Kansas will no doubt key on Burns and make other DePaul players beat them.
DePaul must be able to get contributions from either senior Karron Clarke (10.8 ppg) or from a couple of their talented freshmen Darquavis Tucker (11 ppg) and Mac Koshwal ( 7.3 ppg).
It will be interesting if Wainwright will opt to go small and open up the floor an make it uptempo game, as he did against Corpus Christi when played mostly Clarke, Burns, Tucker, Jabari Currie, and Koshwal. He can also counter Kansas' size and play a lot of Wesley Green and Matija Poscic.
It's a tall order for the Blue Demons no matter how you slice it.
However, realize Wainwright is 2-0 against Bill Self and Kansas. If you recall back in February of 2004, Wainwright led his Richmond Spiders into Kansas and escaped with a win that likely propelled Richmond into the NCAA Tournament.
Wainwright, though has ultimate respect for Kansas, and coached Arthur on the U-19 Team USA Basketball squad. Wainwright says past success has no bearing on this game. "It's one of the great home courts in all of college basketball and certainly they are going to be geared up for us," Wainwright said. "For us it's just like a solid Big East game. Believe me, the past will have nothing to do with this (game)."
No. Name Yr.-Exp. Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School/Last College
00 Darrell Arthur SO-1L Forward 6-9 225 Dallas, Texas/South Oak Cliff HS
2 Conner Teahan FR-HS Guard 6-5 205 Leawood, Kan./Rockhurst HS
3 Russell Robinson SR-3L Guard 6-1 205 New York, N.Y./Rice HS
4 Sherron Collins SO-1L Guard 5-11 205 Chicago, Ill./Crane HS
5 Rodrick Stewart RS SR-2L Guard 6-4 200 Seattle, Wash./Rainier Beach HS/Southern
10 Jeremy Case RS SR-3L Guard 6-1 190 McAlester, Okla./McAlester HS
11 Brennan Bechard JR-1L Guard 6-0 185 Lawrence, Kan./Lawrence HS/Barton County Community College
12 Brady Morningstar SO-1L Guard 6-3 187 Lawrence, Kan./Free State HS/New Hampton [NH] Prep
14 Tyrel Reed FR-HS Guard 6-3 185 Burlington, Kan./Burlington HS
15 Mario Chalmers JR-2L Guard 6-1 190 Anchorage, Alaska/Bartlett HS
22 Chase Buford FR-HS Guard 6-3 200 San Antonio, Texas/Alamo Heights HS
24 Sasha Kaun SR-3L Center 6-11 250 Melbourne, Fla./Florida Air Academy
25 Brandon Rush JR-2L Guard 6-6 210 Kansas City, Mo./Mount Zion [N.C.] Academy
32 Darnell Jackson SR-3L Forward 6-8 250 Oklahoma City, Okla./Midwest City HS
40 Brad Witherspoon SR-1L Guard 6-1 190 Humboldt, Kan./Humboldt HS
45 Cole Aldrich FR-HS Center 6-11 240 Bloomington, Minn./Jefferson HS
54 Matt Kleinmann RS JR-2L Center 6-10 250 Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West HS
DePaul vs. Kansas Game Preview
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