The DePaul Blue Demons are not the DePaul of old, they have seemingly found a way to turn it around. This Saturday's game will be the first of two againist the 10-8 Blue Demons. They have certainly looked better of late. DePaul comes into Villanova riding a two game winning streak; an OT win at Butler along with a two point win at home versus St. Johns.
Villanova leads the all-time series with DePaul 16-8, with the Blue Demons going 2-8 versus the Wildcats while they have been in the Big East. Currently Villanova is riding a six game series winning streak after last seasons 94-71 win at the Allstate Arena.
Many writers and commentators liked to harp on the DePaul Blue Demons as the perennial bottom feeder of the new Big East, as they once were in the old Big East. But they're in the basement no longer, as they are now ranked 9th according to this distinguished staff. With a record of 2-3 in the Big East, they currently are sitting in 6th place. If anyone called this early in the season, I would have called you a big fat liar.
The Blue Demons are led by senior Cleveland Melvin, who averages 16.6 ppg and 49% from three point land. Fellow senior Brandon Young has been doing his best to chip in, tallying 14.6 ppg, but only 23% from deep.
The only other players on the team averaging at or near double digit points are the talented freshman Billy Garrett Jr. and Tommy Hamilton IV, who both hail from Chicago. With an impressive 11.6 ppg and 3.5 assists, Garrett Jr. is a combo guard who can shoot if left open but still has the ability to dish the basketball. Hamilton averages 9.3 ppg along with shooting a deadly 14-29 behind the arch this season. These two freshman represent the promise that this program has the ability to expand and grow towards a better future for this basketball program.
Even with four quality players, the Blue Demons are only able to average 72.8 points per game, which puts them at 165th in the nation for scoring. There defense is even worse. Right now they give up 72.3 ppg, which leaves them at 227 in the county. They have the worst defense in the Big East at this point in the season.
The Wildcats should be able to break down this weak Blue Demon defense with ease. Averaging 80.9 ppg leaves them at 27th in the nation. With a balanced attack, 8 players average at or above 8 ppg, and stifling defense should allow Villanova to march on towards a dominant win with an important game against Creighton looming on Monday night.
Oliver Purnell started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at ODU in 1975. From there he became an assistant coach at Maryland from 1985-1988. In 1989 Purnell became the coach of Radford University where Purnell is credited with one of the biggest one year turnarounds, going from 7-22 in his second year, to 22-7 in his third year. Next Purnell went back to his alma matter, ODU, for 3 years until he decided to move on to coach Dayton for 9 years. Purnell lead the flyers to two NCAA Tournament appearances.
After the Flyers, Purnell was hired to be the coach of Clemson University in the ACC. For 7 years Purnell coached that team to 3 NIT appearances along with 3 straight NCAA appearances. Currently Purnell has been coaching at DePaul for 3 and 1/2 years where he has amassed 40-72 record. With 3 more wins, DePaul will have the most wins ever under Purnell, 13.
In his playing days, Purnell played for the ODU Monarchs from 1972-1975.
DePaul has not had many famous graduates. One of the funniest actors in cinema, John C. Reilly walked though the halls of DePaul University. A famous person in television is Gillian Anderson. She gained her fame, and Emmy awards, in the X-Files series in the 90s. Other than those two, the cupboard is pretty bare.
(Editor's Note: Just like their basketball team)
Chicago: 3:00-6:00 PM, Sedgwick's Bar & Grill, 1935 N. Sedgwick Street Chicago
Dallas: Fort Worth: 3:00-5:00 PM, Humperdink's, 2208 W. Northwest Hwy, Dallas, TX
Long Island: 4:00 PM, Prost Grill and Garten, 652 Franklin Avenue, Garden City, NY
Manhattan: 4:00-6:00 PM Mason Jar NYC, 43 East 30th Street, New York, NY
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