DePaul Blue Demons vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights – Saturday, January 31st, 7:00 p.m. Central
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Well, somebody has to win! Going into Saturday's Big East match-up to avoid the cellar, both the DePaul Blue Demons and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights have abysmal identical Big East records of 0-8.
It has been a tough year for both DePaul and Rutgers as they are the bottom feeders in one of the most loaded conferences ever, with eight of the Big East members currently residing in the top 25.
Rutgers (9-12 overall) is coming off a hard fought (70-67) loss at intra-state rival Seton Hall on Thursday while DePaul (8-13 overall) earlier in the week was manhandled by Connecticut 71-49.
To say these teams are struggling is a massive understatement. Neither team has caught a break and both must view this game as very winnable. It may not have the glitz and glamour of say a Connecticut-Louisville match up on Monday, but both teams will battle very hard to avoid the distinction of last place.
Both teams rank near or at the bottom at many of the major statistical categories in the league. DePaul and Rutgers are 14th and 15th in scoring offense, while on the opposite end of the spectrum, Rutgers is 10th in scoring defense and DePaul is 12th. For scoring margin, Rutgers places 14th in the league while DePaul is last.
The biggest fault for both teams is that neither can shoot the ball straight. Rutgers and DePaul are 15th and 16th in 3-point shooting percentage. Suffice to say, you may see a ugly grind-it out type of game with little to no fluidity.
Rutgers, though, does have some emerging talent in the form of two sensational freshmen, 6-3 guard Mike Rosario and 6-9 forward Greg Echenique. Rosario, a McDonald's All-American last year, ranks eighth in the Big East in scoring, and tops among freshmen, with a 17.6 ppg average. Echenique is tops among freshmen in rebounding (8.4 rpg) while placing 10th overall in the league. Echenique is also second on the team in scoring with a 9.5 ppg average. Both Rosario and Echenique form a nice young inside-out duo much like the Demons have in Dar Tucker and Mac Koshwal. Tucker and Koshwal are a bit more experienced and that may play in to the Demons factor.
Down low, Echenique and 6-11 junior center Hamady NDiaye make it difficult for teams to score in the paint against Rutgers. They place second and third in the league in blocked shots. Rutgers also is second in the league in 3-point field goal percentage defense. With those inside-outside type of defensive numbers, one has to would wonder why Rutgers struggles so much.
Their offense is mostly to blame. Rutgers offense simply is out of synch most of the time with not a lot of discipline. They take too many bad shots and let other teams dictate the tempo. The same can be said about DePaul though, so something has to give on Saturday. It may be ugly, and there will be no tie and some team will earn their first Big East victory.
Coaches vs. Cancer Suits & Sneakers Awareness Weekend
The DePaul coaching staff will be wearing Adidas tennis shoes for the Rutgers game as part of the NABC's 2009 Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend. The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) has selected the weekend of Jan. 30-Feb. 1 to show support for the Coaches vs. Cancer program.
The Last Time
In January of 2008 at Allstate Arena, the Blue Demons rallied from behind to squeak out a 75-73 win over the Scarlet Knights.
DePaul won despite Rutgers shooting a season-high of 61.7% from the field and an amazing 61.5% from behind the arc.
The Demons had trailed by as many as 15 points with 6:16 remaining in the first half.
Senior guard Draelon Burns led DePaul with 20 points. Mac Koshwal led the inside game for the Demons with 18 points and five rebounds. Dar Tucker finished with 12 points.
J.R. Inman led all scorers with 22 points, while guard Anthony Farmer contributed 17 for the Scarlet Knights. DePaul held freshman sensation Corey Chandler to eight points.
The DePaul bench outscored Rutgers by a 32-16 margin.
No. Name Pos. Cl. Ht. Wt. School/Hometown
00 GREGORY ECHENIQUE F Fr. 6-9 260 St. Benedict's Prep (N.J.) /Guatire, Venezuela
1 COREY CHANDLER G So. 6-2 190 East Side HS/Newark, N.J.
2 ANTHONY FARMER G Sr. 6-1 190 St. Augustine's Prep/Millville, NJ
3 MIKE ROSARIO G Fr. 6-3 180 Saint Anthony HS /Jersey City, N.J.
5 HAMADY NDIAYE C Jr. 6-11 235 Stoneridge Prep (CA)/Dakar, Senegal
11 EARL PETTIS G So. 6-5 225 Patterson School (N.C.)/Philadelphia, Pa.
15 JR INMAN F Sr. 6-9 230 St. Joseph's Regional HS (N.J.) /Pomona, N.Y.
22 MIKE KUHN G Fr. 6-1 180 Christian Brothers Academy/Oceanport, N.J.
23 PATRICK JACKSON F Fr. 6-6 195 Boys & Girls HS /Brooklyn, N.Y
24 JONATHAN MITCHELL F Jr. 6-7 225 Mt. Vernon HS/Florida/Mt. Vernon, N.Y.
31 MIKE COBURN G So. 6-0 195 Mt. Vernon HS/Mt. Vernon, N.Y.
32 JARON GRIFFIN G/F Sr. 6-7 210 Manchester Township/Manchester, N.J.
40 TOMASZ KOKOSINSKI F Fr. 6-7 230 Bergen County Technical HS/Bergenfield, N.J
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