The Orange, coming off an impressive win over Seton Hall to open its Big East schedule, will travel to Chicago to play the significantly improved DePaul Blue Demons.
COACHING CHANGES: In his second season at the helm of DePaul, Oliver Purnell has already taken the team to new heights. The Blue Demons were 7-24 last year and 1-17 in the Big East. DePaul has already surpassed its win total from last year, standing at 9-3. Two of those losses (Minnesota and Ole’ Miss) came by a combined three points. While the Blue Demons aren’t expected to contend in the Big East, they’re not expected to finish in the basement either.
SCOUTING THE BLUE DEMONS: DePaul is off to its best start since it opened the 1999-2000 season at 9-3. That is in no small thanks to All Big East caliber players Cleveland Melvin (18.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Brandon Young (17.4 ppg, 4.8 apg). DePaul is also one of the deeper teams in the Big East, with nine players averaging 10 minutes or more. But the two major areas of concern are defensive and rebounding. The Blue Demons gave up an average of five rebounds per game in its non conference schedule and about 70 points a game. If they really want to gain respect in the Big East, they’ll have to improve in both of those categories.
IN DEPAUL’S LAST GAME: Melvin and Brandon Young each had 16 points as DePaul topped Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo 63-58. The Blue Demons held the Mustangs to just 37 percent from the field.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: The Orange holds an 8-4 advantage over the Blue Demons, including last year’s 107-59 victory. Rick Jackson led the way with 14 points and seven rebounds in his final game at the Carrier Dome.
GAME INFORMATION: Sun, Jan 1. 5 p.m. BIG EAST Network/SNY. Chicago, IL.