The first bit of business is taking down a DePaul team (11-14/4-10) in
Tonight's game falls into the "must-win" category for SU, because the
DePaul season to
date: Jerry Wainwright's Blue Demons have actually faired well in non-league
games, beating respectable opponents such as Creighton, UAB, Cal, Dayton, and
Wake Forest. They entered January with a promising 7-4 overall record, only to
completely fall apart at the beginning of conference play. A six game losing
streak through most of January saw them fall to 1-7 in the Big East, but they
have split their last 6 games with wins over South Florida,
personnel: The cornerstone player for the Blue Demons is 6-6 wing Sammy Mejia.
Mejia puts up solid all-around numbers at 14.6 ppg, 4.1 rbg, and 2.4 apg. He shoots the ball pretty well from the field because he employs good shot selection and patience. Mejia is an unselfish player and excellent passer who can man the point for short periods of time if need be. He is at his best, however, when he is slashing on the baseline or driving into the paint. Look for him to try to do most of his damage off the dribble.
The other primary scorers for DePaul are a trio of mid-sized
underclassmen: 6-4 SO Draeion Burns, 6-7 FR Wilson Chandler, and 6-6 SO Karron Clarke. All average between 9 and 12 points a contest, but also underscore one
of the major problems with this DePaul team: most of its offense comes from the
perimeter. This isn't a particularly good thing when your team shoots 29.9% from
three-point range. In fairness, the 6-7
Marlon Brumfield and Wesley Greene are both loads at 6-9 (260 and 290 lbs, respectively), but they combine for a whopping 8 points a contest, showing how little the Demons get from their post up game. The only other players of significant note are starting PG Cliff Clinkscales and FR sub Jabari Currie. Clinkscales runs the offense to the tune of 2.6 apg, but provides next to nothing in terms of scoring, while Currie has the upside potential to eventually play a leading roll for DePaul.
Outlook: All the indicators in this game point to SU. The match-ups look good and the conditions are right for that all-important 8th league win. Let's take a look at the key points to the game:
Conference USA transplants South Florida, Louisville,
and Cincinnati were unable to beat SU in their first look at the Orange, so it's
reasonable to think that DePaul may also struggle. The ‘Cuse provides a tough
matchup for teams that have not seen their zone before and that are not familiar
with guarding McNamara. GMac had his two best Big East games at Cincy (29 pts)
and against Pitino's
4) DePaul's perimeter defense isn't that good – they've given up 174 threes on the season and allowed 36% shooting from beyond the arc in Big East games. This could bode well for GMac, Devo, and Nichols.