The DePaul Blue Demons take the trip up I-94 to visit the Marquette Golden Eagles on Saturday at the Bradley Center. Marquette is riding a seven game winning streak and DePaul has dropped six straight. Here are the breakdowns for Saturday's game.
PG – Jabari Currie/Jeremiah Kelly. Currie, the 6'4'' guard from Detroit, enters his final year as a Blue Demon. His stats haven't been impressive, but neither are his physical tools. He is averaging a little over six points per game and two assists. And he isn't a threat from three, as he's shooting 30 percent from the arc this season. He will have difficulties keeping Dominic James in front of him. Currie's backup is the freshman, Kelly. Kelly has a 3.6/1 assists to turnover ratio and truly makes the most of his minutes –when he gets them. Last game, Kelly logged only four minutes.
G – Will Walker. Walker, a junior from Bolingbrook, Ill., has struggled this year. With the lack of a true point guard to penetrate, Walker hasn't seen the same looks he did last year. He's shooting about 27 percent from three, compared to 43 percent last year. He's also shooting more frequently. However, he's improved other parts of his game and has turned into a good scoring option for DePaul. On the defensive end, he's improved his steal total, but at 6'0'' he lacks the size to defend bigger guards.
G/F – Dar Tucker. In a rough season for the Blue Demons, Dar Tucker is one of the bright spots. The sophomore is averaging 18.6 points per game as well as five rebounds per game. With the lack of playmakers around him, Tucker has had to repeatedly attempt to win the game on his own. It has resulted in some tough turnovers and bad shots, but considering the options around him, he has to take the tough shots.
F/C – Matija Poscic and Mario Stula. Poscic is a senior forward standing 6'10'' with some nice touch around the hoop. However, he isn't an offensive threat and usually plays 15-25 minutes while taking two or three shots a game. He's not the best rebounder, but he doesn't get much of a chance to because most of the boards go to Mac Koshwal. Stula is a 6'7'' sophomore who also finds it hard to contribute on the stat sheet. Ken Pomeroy ranks him among the "nearly invisible," as he's still learning the game. His career high in points is five.
C – Mac Koshwal. Jeff Wolf has waited nearly 400 words for me to get to his favorite center in the Big East. Koshwal is a productive basketball player, as his seven double-doubles illustrate. He gets credit for being the conference's best offensive rebounder, but he also plays on one of the worst shooting teams. He will be a headache on the boards, and Marquette has to hope he gets into foul trouble. If he gets too out of hand, Marquette should install the "Hack-a-Mac" –the sophomore center is only a 56 percent shooter from the stripe.
Marquette will not take DePaul lightly, but this is a game that they should take care of quickly. It would be a shame if a program with two potential NBA first round talents cannot muster a win in conference play. Tucker and Koshwal are special players with bright futures.
Besides those two, DePaul is very weak. Marquette would be best served to light up the scoreboard quickly, and rest their starters for Notre Dame on Monday. To be an elite team in this conference, you not only have to beat the bottom feeders – you have to dominate them. Let's see if Marquette can take that step tomorrow.