Will DePaul Go Winless in the Big East?

That is the question that we can begin to explore now that DePaul has blown some of their best chances for a conference victory against Cincinnati on Saturday and at South Florida on Tuesday. The Pomeroy Ratings still think that the Blue Demons have the chops to pull at least one upset (and maybe two), even though DePaul is ranked 179th and no other Big East team is lower than 145th (Rutgers).

The Blue Demons' best chances for a conference victory are at home where the rims feel a little looser and there's no travel (and weird hour time differences) to overcome. Unfortunately, DePaul does not play the Scarlet Knights at home this season, and Rutgers has shown quite a bit of fight in conference. DePaul goes to Piscataway, N.J. on Jan. 31.

Since the schedule makers didn't give DePaul a break, the Blue Demons will have to make their own. Home against Seton Hall (104th) and home against St. John's (123rd) are their best shots.

The question then becomes, does DePaul have the ability to take advantage of the weaknesses of Seton Hall or St. John's? According to the four factors of Effective Field Goal Percentage, Turnover Percentage, Offensive Rebound Percentage and Free Throws Attempted per Field Goal Attempted, the answer is, "Probably not."

DePaul's most realistic shot for a victory during Big East Conference play will come against St. John's. The big advantage for St. John's will come on the boards. DePaul will have to be ready to rebound in that game. The Red Storm are one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country and sophomore forward Sean Evans is darn good at it. He pulls down 11.6 percent of the offensive rebounds available while he's on the court. Paris Horne and D.J. Kennedy are not too bad either at getting to the offensive glass for the Red Storm. DePaul typically relies on the incredible talents of Mac "Double-Double" Koshwal to do all the rebounding. Koshwal is one of the best rebounders in the country, but he'll need help on Feb. 28.

DePaul doesn't have to go winless in the Big East. But far stranger things have happened in the history of college basketball. This team has a chance to set a dubious mark, I hope they avoid it somehow. Of course, all 16 Big East teams are invited to Madison Square Garden this season for the Big East Tournament. So even if the Blue Demons fail to win a Big East regular season game, they'll get one last chance at redemption.

John Templon is the photographer and writer of the Chicago College Basketball blog. John is a graduate journalism student at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

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