Athlon Sports' 2009-10 Season Preview predicted the Blue Demons would finish dead last in the Big East. After going 9-24 last year, DePaul already has more than 1/2 the wins they had all last season. At 5-1, Coach Jerry Wainright's team has played every game relatively close, including taking the Tennessee Volunteers down to the wire in the St. Thomas Paradise Jam. The Blue Demons play exceptionally good defense. How good? They held UT to their season low of 57 (they've scored at least 72 in every other game this year). With the exception of Tennessee, DePaul's early opponents have been pretty good (Northern Iowa certainly comes to mind) and have a record of 22-14 (but just 11-12 outside of UT and NIU).
DePaul's 2 best players are senior 6'0 guard Will Walker and 6'10 junior Mac Koshwal who are scoring 32.3 of DePaul's 59.3 points. Walker averages 17.3 a game, and can shoot the ball. In fact, he's shooting 37.5% from downtown. Mac nets 15, but even more impressive than that are the 13 rebounds a game he is pulling down. While Mac has only played 3 games, he has certainly hit the ground running.
It doesn't appear from the stats that DePaul is particularly deep. Walker plays close to 38 minutes a game, while Koshwal plays 36. Sophomore guard Jeremiah Kelly is playing 32 minutes a game and is the team's assist leader with 19 on the year.
They clearly like to take the air out of the ball (in stark contrast to Missouri's style) and are certainly good at forcing their opponents to do the same (see the UT game). While Festus did not play against the Tigers, don't be surprised to see him get some action tomorrow. The Commodores would be well advised to take it to Koshwal and try and get the big man in foul trouble. Between A.J., Ezeli, and Steve Tchiengang, Kevin Stallings certainly has enough bodies to throw at them.
DePaul is not a great rebounding team either. In fact, they have a -.3 rebounding margin through their first 6 games. They do have a +3 turnover margin, so (as always) Vanderbilt will have to do a better job taking care of the ball than they did against Mizzou (especially down the stretch). The Blue Demons are also not a great free throw shooting team (shooting just 55% from the charity stripe thus far).
A.J. showed us the kind of dominating player he can be against Missouri, and Jermaine stepped up and hit some big shots. The lover affair with John Jenkins also shows no sign of letting up. Jeffrey Taylor's athleticism should have a change to be on display, but again, given how DePaul contained Tennessee, there is reason to be skeptical. Brad Tinsley and Lance Goulbourne have some making up to do, and tomorrow could prove to be a great opportunity to begin.
Should be fun. I will be forsaking exam preparation for a few hours to go at the game. With that in mind, if anyone in VSL Nation has an extra ticket for tomorrow's game, please email the newsroom (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know. I will pay nothing to bottom dollar.
This preview was quick an dirty, but our friends Eric Adams has a great preview up on Bleacher Report that's worth a read.