March in Manhattan Begins Wednesday Night
March 7, 2017
DePaul (9-22) vs. Xavier (19-12)
BIG EAST Tournament First Round
Wednesday, March 8 | 9:30 p.m. ET
Madison Square Garden | New York, N.Y.
TV: FS1 | Mobile/Online: FOX Sports Go
Radio: WSCR 670 AM | Mobile/Online: BlueTube
BIG EAST Tournament History and Information: DePaul
Wednesday's game will be televised on FS1 with Gus Johnson (play-by-play), Bill Raftery (analyst) and Lisa Byington (reporter) handling the television duties. The game can also be seen online and on mobile devices with FOX Sports Go. DePaul's radio tandem of Zach Zaidman (play-by-play) and Dave Corzine (analyst) can be heard on WSCR 670 AM as well as online on BlueTube at www.depaulbluedemons.com. Live stats can be found on GameTracker at www.depaulbluedemons.com while in-game scoring updates and notes can be followed on Twitter at @DePaulSID.
Xavier stands at 19-12 overall and 9-9 in the BIG EAST. The Musketeers knocked off the Blue Demons, 79-65, in the regular-season finale on Saturday. The Blue Demons are 9-22 overall and hold a 2-16 record in league play after Saturday's action. Head coach Dave Leitao is in his fifth season at DePaul and his second since returning to the program after leading the Blue Demons three postseasons in three years from 2002-05. Overall, the 2016-17 campaign is Leitao's 11th as a head coach at the collegiate level. Xavier is led by Chris Mack who is in his eighth season leading the Musketeers.
Same Seats: DePaul and Xavier meet for the second time in five days on Wednesday night. Both teams locked in their seeds for the conference tournament prior to last Saturday's final regular season game at Allstate Arena. The two sides will be meeting in the BIG EAST Tournament for the first time. Xavier won both regular-season meetings with a 72-61 win at Cintas Center on Feb. 8 before the 79-65 decision on Saturday at Allstate Arena.
BIG EAST Coaches Select Garrett for Sportsmanship Award: DePaul senior guard Billy Garrett Jr. was honored by BIG EAST head coaches with the league's Sportsmanship Award. On the court, he is averaging 14.9 points and 3.3 assists per contest. Among active BIG EAST players, Garrett is first in career points in league games with 914 points. He began his career winning the BIG EAST Rookie of the Year award in 2013-14. Off the court, Garrett was named to AFCA Good Works Team. He will be honored at the NCAA Final Four. Garrett also has been advocate as a guest speaker for sickle cell disease. A finance major, he will graduate later this month ahead of his class.
Noting the Blue Demons: The men's basketball program is 1,437-986 (.593) all-time... the 82-61 win over No. 20/20 George Washington on Dec. 22, 2015 was win No. 1,425 since start of 1923-24 season... according to ESPN, DePaul's margin of victory over No. 20/20 George Washington was the largest in program history as an unranked team over a ranked opponent... the Blue Demons have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 738 straight games... DePaul's last game without a three was Feb. 16, 1993 against UAB at Allstate Arena... the Blue Demons are 342-184 (.650) all-time at Allstate Arena... DePaul is 12-3 (.800) all-time in games at McGrath-Phillips Arena.
The Opponent - Xavier Musketeers: Xavier is 19-12 overall and 9-9 in BIG EAST action after the 79-65 win over the Blue Demons on Saturday... the win snapped a six-game losing streak... Trevon Bluiett leads the Musketeers with 18.0 points per game... J.P. Macura adds 14.5 points per game... the duo has combined for 127 three's this season... RaShid Gaston leads the team with 6.6 rebounds per game along with a scoring average of 8.2... head coach Chris Mack is in his eighth season leading the Musketeers... DePaul head coach Dave Leitao is 0-6 all-time against Xavier.
The Series: Wednesday is the 20th all-time meeting between the two programs and the ninth since Xavier joined the BIG EAST... it's the first BIG EAST Tournament game between the two schools... Xavier leads the series, 10-9... Xavier has won seven of the last eight meetings... the Musketeers posted a 72-61 win on Feb. 8 at Cintas Center and a 79-65 decision at Allstate Arena on March 4... DePaul's last win in the series was a 71-68 decision on Jan. 3, 2015 at Allstate Arena... the first meeting was on Jan. 16, 1939 with DePaul taking a 38-30 decision on its home floor... nine of the 19 all-time games took place between Dec. 1963 and Feb. 1974.
It Could Happen: R.J. Curington is playing in his 80th career game... Billy Garrett Jr. is playing in his 125th career game... Chris Harrison-Docks is playing in his 100th career game (74 at Western Kentucky)... Harrison-Docks also needs three three-pointers to reach 200 in his collegiate career between Western Kentucky and DePaul.
Manhattan Madness: The DePaul Blue Demons make their 10th appearance at Madison Square Garden for the BIG EAST Tournament. DePaul is 2-9 all-time in BIG EAST postseason play with a second-round appearance in 2009 and a quarterfinal appearance in 2014.
The eighth-seeded Blue Demons dropped a 75-67 decision to ninth-seeded Villanova on March 7, 2007 in their first BIG EAST Tournament game. In 2009 as the 16th seed, DePaul topped ninth-seeded Cincinnati, 67-57, before falling in the second round to No. 8 seed Providence by a score of 83-74. In 2011, the first round saw ninth-seeded Connecticut defeat the 16th-seeded Blue Demons, 97-71, as the Huskies won five games in five days to claim the tournament title. Three years ago as the No. 10 seed, DePaul knocked off seventh-seeded Georgetown, 60-56, before losing against second-seeded Creighton by a score of 84-62.
Conference Tournament History: The BIG EAST Championship is the third conference tournament for the men's basketball program at DePaul University. Previously, the Blue Demons competed in postseason events in the Great Midwest Conference (1992-95) and Conference USA (1996-05).
DePaul holds a 10-22 all-time record in conference tourney action with two appearances in conference tournament championship games in 2000 and 2004. The Blue Demons dropped a 56-49 decision to Saint Louis in the 2000 Conference USA title game before a 55-50 defeat against Cincinnati in the 2004 Conference USA finals. In addition to those to championship game appearances, the Blue Demons also reached the semifinals in the 1992 and 1993 Great Midwest Tournaments.
The Blue Demons went 1-4 in four Great Midwest Conference tournaments before playing 16 tournament games in Conference USA from 1995-05. The Blue Demons were the top seed in the 2004 Conference USA tournament before falling to Cincinnati.
Notables: Since the BIG EAST reformatted to 10 teams, DePaul has only faced Creighton and Georgetown in the conference tournament... DePaul played Creighton in 2014 and 2015... the Blue Demons and Hoyas met in 2014 and 2016... DePaul's most common all-time conference tournament opponent is Cincinnati... the Blue Demons are 1-4 all-time against the Bearcats in conference tournament action... DePaul is also 2-2 all-time against UAB, 1-2 against Memphis and 0-3 against USF in league tournaments... the upset over ninth-seeded Cincinnati as the No. 16 seed in the 2009 BIG EAST Tournament marked the first time in conference tournament play of such an occurrence... Will Walker's 31 points and Dar Tucker's 30 in the second round of the 2009 second-round game against Providence was the first time that two players from the same team had scored at least 30 points in a BIG EAST Tournament game... in three tournament games, the Blue Demons have combined to shoot at least .833 from the free throw line... DePaul shot .867 (13-15) against Connecticut in 2012, .842 (16-19) against Villanova in 2007 and .833 (10-12) in 2013 against Rutgers.
BIG EAST Tournament Experience: The Blue Demons enter the 2017 tournament with 12 total games of BIG EAST Tournament experience on the active roster... Billy Garrett Jr. has played a team-high four conference tourney games... of the current lineup of BIG EAST programs, DePaul has faced Villanova (2007), Providence (2009), Georgetown (2014 and 2016) and Creighton (2014 and 2015) in tournament play.
Leitao and BIG EAST Tournament Success: While DePaul head coach Dave Leitao is making his second appearance at the BIG EAST Tournament as a head coach, he has been a part of four tournament titles while serving as an assistant coach (1986-94) and associate head coach (1996-02) at Connecticut. Leitao and Connecticut won the event in 1990, 1998, 1999 and 2002 while those teams combined for a 17-10 record during his time on the bench for the Huskies.
In addition to Leitao's experience at Madison Square Garden in March, all three DePaul assistant coaches have been on the bench for the BIG EAST Tournament. Associate head coach Rick Carter was on the Xavier bench the two years before moving to DePaul, Billy Garrett is making his 13th appearance between stints at Seton Hall and DePaul, and Patrick Sellers is in his seventh tournament after coaching in the event previously with Connecticut and Creighton.
On Deck: The winner of Wednesday's first round game faced second-seeded Butler in the quarterfinal on Thursday night... the game can be seen on FS1 and heard on WSCR 670 AM starting at 7 p.m. ET... Butler won both meetings with DePaul this season... the Bulldogs posted a 70-69 win in overtime at Allstate Arena on Jan. 21 before an 82-66 win at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Feb. 19.
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