DePaul Blue Demons vs. South Florida Golden Bulls – Tuesday, March 9th, 11:00 a.m. Central – Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY
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It is the opening round of the 2010 Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. Can DePaul (8-22, 1-17) repeat what they did last year in the Garden? i.e. Come into the first day of play as a 16 seed and defeat the nine seed. That's what happened last season when the Demons sent the Cincinnati Bearcats packing after a 67-57 first round victory.
DePaul ended a 18 game losing streak on that day. This time around they are looking to snap a 12 game skid.
Those 12 losses mean nothing to DePaul interim coach Tracy Webster, who looks as New York as an opportunity to make a new start.
"We're 0-0 right now," said Webster. "We're after some W's in the tournament."
DePaul does have the advantage of being able to come in and play loose, carefree, with a nothing to lose mentality. While South Florida (19-11, 9-9) could be tight with the pressure of having their postseason hopes on the line. The Bulls, with a RPI of 63, still have slim hopes of making the NCAA tournament with a strong run in New York. Plus, USF has never won a Big East Tournament game.
To pull off the upset, the Blue Demons will have to find a way to do better on the boards. Rebounding has been DePaul's Achilles heel in the last half of the Big East schedule.
When the Blue Demons and Bulls met last Tuesday at Allstate Arena, USF held their largest rebounding margin of the season (+12) as the dominated on the glass 43-31.
DePaul will have to also contain the Big East's leading scorer in Dominique Jones. The junior guard, who is in the top ten in the nation in scoring, attracted some NBA scouts last in Rosemont last week. Jones is averaging 21.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.6 steals per game this season.
The Demons did managed to limit Jones in the first half last week, but then he got close to his average in the second half as he finished with 20 points and seven rebounds.
The Bulls are coming off a 75-68 defeat of Connecticut in Tampa which earned them the nine seed. USF finished with their best record in eight years. Coach Stan Heath has led quite a resurgence at USF, but can he keep it going in New York?
The Georgetown Hoyas, seeded eighth, await the winner of this game in Wednesday's second round.
DePaul will have to play lose and with a chip on their shoulder after none of the Blue Demons received postseason honors from the Big East this week.
The Last Time
The last time the Demons and Bulls met was just seven days ago. So there is some familiarity with each other. Last Tuesday night, USF escaped with a 63-59 victory at Allstate Arena.
Mac Koshwal led all scorers with a double-double performance of 24 points and 11 rebounds.
Senior guard Will Walker scored 16 points, but shot one for six on three point shots.
The Bulls were led by 20 points from junior guard Dominique Jones.
1 Anderson, Jr., Ron F 6-8 255 RJr. Upper Marlboro, Md. (Kansas State) (McCallie School - Tenn.)
23 Burwell, Mike G 6-6 210 Fr. East Brunswick, N.J. (South Kent School - Conn.) (Cardinal McCarrick HS)
10 Crater, Anthony G 6-1 170 So. Flint, Mich. (Ohio State) (Brewster Academy - N.H.)
31 Famous, Jarrid F/C 6-11 240 Jr. Bronx, N.Y. (Westchester Community College - N.Y.) (Blessed Sacrament HS)
32 Fitzpatrick, Toarlyn F 6-8 230 Fr. Tampa, Fla. (King HS)
24 Gilchrist, Augustus F/C 6-10 245 So. Clinton, Md. (Maryland) (Progressive Christian Academy - Md.)
3 Howard, Chris G 6-3 200 Sr. Fort Washington, Md. (Friendly HS)
20 Jones, Dominique G 6-4 215 Jr. Lake Wales, Fla. (Lake Wales HS)
13 Kardok, Ryan G 6-3 188 Sr. Parkland, Fla. (Broward Community College - Fla.) (Stoneman Douglas HS)
33 Mercer, Mike G 6-5 195 Sr. Snellville, Ga. (Georgia) (South Gwinnett HS)
22 Noriega, Shaun G 6-4 195 Fr. North Port, Fla. (North Port HS)
11 Rivas, Alex C 6-10 230 Sr. Santiago, Dominican Republic (Pratt Community College - Kan.) (Laurinburg Prep - N.C.)
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