DePaul Meets USF at Madison Square Garden
NEW YORK - The DePaul Blue Demons open the 2010 BIG EAST Championship presented by New York Life at Noon on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. A year ago, DePaul played in the same game as the No. 16 seed and knocked off ninth-seeded Cincinnati before falling to Providence in the second round. The Blue Demons are the 16th seed again this season and face ninth-seeded USF in the opening game of the 16-team, five-day tournament. USF and DePaul are meeting for the second time in eight days as the Bulls knocked off the Blue Demons, 63-59, at Allstate Arena on Mar. 2.
DePaul is 8-22 overall and finished the BIG EAST portion of the schedule with a 1-17 record. The Blue Demons went to three overtimes in the regular-season finale on Friday night before falling to St. John's, 90-82. DePaul is looking to snap a season-high 12-game losing streak after posting a 1-7 mark in January. DePaul finished the non-conference portion of the regular-season schedule with a 7-5 record. DePaul dropped two of the last three non-conference games after starting the season with a 5-1 record. DePaul posted a 4-1 record in November before a 3-5 mark in December.
USF has won three straight heading into the BIG EAST Championship and finished the season with a 75-68 win over Connecticut on Saturday. The Bulls enter the game with a 19-11 overall record that includes a 9-9 record in BIG EAST play. Tuesday's game is the 23rd all-time meeting between the two programs with the Blue Demons holding a 15-7 advantage. Among the 22 previous meetings, the two sides have met twice in conference tournament action with the Bulls taking first-round wins in the 2001 and 2003 editions of the Conference USA Tournament.
The game is scheduled for a Noon ET start and can be seen on ESPN2 with Dave Pasch (play-by-play) along with Doris Burke (analyst) and Fran Fraschilla (analyst) handling the television duties. On the radio, the game can be found online on Blue Tube at www.depaulbluedemons.com. Zach Zaidman (play-by-play) and Laurence Holmes (analyst) call all the action beginning with the pre-game show at 11:45 a.m. ET. In-game scoring updates and notes can also be found at www.twitter.com/depaulsid.
The winner of Tuesday's game advances to the second round to face eighth-seeded Georgetown at Noon ET on Wednesday. A year ago, 16th-seeded DePaul posted a 67-57 upset of ninth-seeded Cincinnati before falling to eighth-seeded Providence, 83-74, in the second round.
Noting the Blue Demons: The men's basketball program is 1,365-835 (.621) all-time... the Blue Demons have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 520 straight games... DePaul's last game without a three was Feb. 16, 1993 against UAB at Allstate Arena... the Blue Demons have used 14 different starting line-ups this season... the win over Columbia in the season opener ended an 18-game losing streak in regular-season games... the Blue Demons have won four of their first five games in two straight seasons... DePaul has played its first home game on Nov. 17 in each of the last four seasons... DePaul has allowed more than 70 points nine times this season and are 0-9 in those games... through the first four games of the season, the DePaul defense held each opponent to less than 60 points... the last team to accomplish the feat was in Ray Meyer's last season as head coach of the Blue Demons as Meyer's squad posted four straight sub-60 games from Mar. 1-10, 1984... the four turnovers against Alabama State on Dec. 2 were the fewest in a game since four miscues against Chaminade in the Maui Invitational on Nov. 21, 2006... the 51-50 win over Marquette on Jan. 20 ended DePaul's 24-game losing streak in BIG EAST regular-season games... the program finished the decade from Jan. 1, 2000-Dec. 31, 2009 with a 149-158 (.485) record... the back-to-back 20-loss seasons are the first since consecutive 20-loss campaigns in 1996-97 and 1997-98.
The Opponent - No. 9 seed USF Bulls: USF enters the BIG EAST Championship at 19-11 overall... the Bulls finished ninth in the BIG EAST standings with a 9-9 league record... USF enters the tournament with a three-game winning streak including a 63-59 win over the Blue Demons last Tuesday... they closed the regular season with a 75-68 win over Connecticut on Saturday... Dominique Jones leads the team with 21.3 points per game and 50 three-pointers this season... Augustus Gilchrist adds 14.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per game while Jarrid Famous checks in with a 10.7 scoring average and a team-high 7.6 boards per outing... head coach Stan Heath is in his third season at USF.
The Series: DePaul and USF meet for the 23rd time overall and the second time in eight days... the Blue Demons hold a 15-7 advantage in the series... the Bulls have won three straight meetings following a six-game winning streak for DePaul... in BIG EAST play, DePaul has won four of the seven meetings.
The Last Meeting: Dominique Jones scored 20 points, including a go-ahead three-pointer with two minutes left to lead USF to a 63-59 win over DePaul on Mar. 2, 2010 at Allstate Arena... Chris Howard added 13 and Augustus Gilchrist scored 11 for the Bulls... DePaul held a 27-22 advantage at halftime before USF led by as many as eight points in the second half... Mac Koshwal totaled 24 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots for the Blue Demons... Will Walker added 16 points, four assists and four steals... USF outrebounded DePaul, 43-31, and held an 18-6 advantage on second-chance points.
In Conference Tournament Play: Tuesday is the third all-time meeting between DePaul and USF in conference tournament play... USF claimed a pair of wins in Conference USA postseason action in 2001 and 2003... both wins came in the first round at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky.... the Bulls posted a 63-59 decision on Mar. 7, 2001 and a 76-74 win over the Blue Demons on Mar. 12, 2003.
It Could Happen: Will Walker will be playing in his 123rd career game putting him in a tie for fourth in DePaul history... Tuesday's game will also mark his 80th career start... with two steals, he takes over sixth on the steals record list... Mac Koshwal needs five points (1,011 pts.) to move into 44th on the all-time scoring chart... he also needs five rebounds (740 rebs.) to move into 11th all-time... Devin Hill needs one blocked shot for sole possession of 15th all-time... a win would end a season-high 12-game losing streak and a three-game losing streak against USF.
Demon Doings: Notes following DePaul's 90-82 triple-overtime loss against St. John's on Mar. 5:
Walker and Koshwal Move into 1K Club: With a three-pointer early in the second half against UIC, senior guard Will Walker became the 45th player in program history to score 1,000 points. He finished the game against the Flames with 1,011 points and currently sits in 17th place in DePaul history with 1,341 points in 122 career games. Walker is the only player in DePaul history to score at least 1,300 career points and knocked down at least 185 three-pointers.
Junior forward/center Mac Koshwal joined Walker on the 1,000-point list against St. John's on Mar. 5. Koshwal's first bucket in the second half against the Red Storm made him the 46th player in school history with 1,000 points. Koshwal finished the game ranked 45th in program history with 1,011 points in 80 games.