NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Jimmy Drew #23 of the DePaul Blue Demons lays on the floor against the Connecticut Huskies at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
It's easy to start rolling out the DePaul jokes, and trust me I will, but it's also a smart idea to remember the last time we traveled to Chicago and the disaster we barely avoided.
So, you know.
The Syracuse Orange’s game against DePaul had turned into such a blowout that with 47 seconds left in the contest Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was taking out former walk-on Brandon Reese and junior walk-on Nick Resavy and replacing them with freshmen walk-ons Russ DeRemer and Nolan Hart.
The 48-point win also broke the Big East record for widest margin of victory.
So what does the 2011-2012 DePaul basketball team have to offer? Oliver Purnell's squad is showing signs of improvement. Not that it would terribly hard to improve on their 7-24 finish last year. Their 9-3 start is the best for DePaul since the 1999-2000 season and it's only the third time in the last 25 years they've won at least nine of their first 12 games.
That said, those nine wins aren't terribly impressive (Arizona State is terrible this year, Texas Tech is meh). Their losses have been to teams you'd expect them to lose to (Minn., Ole Miss & a solid Wis-Milw).
Want get a little bit scared? The Blue Demons are 2nd in the Big East in 3-point shots made, averaging 7.58 a game.
Want to feel a whole lot better? The Blue Demons are the statistically worst defensive team in the Big East right now. Syracuse is the top statistical offense in the conference.
While SU spreads the wealth (no players in the Top 20 Big East scoring list), DePaul relies on a a dynamic duo of sophomores. Forward Cleveland Melvin averages 18.5 points per game and guard Brandon Young averaging 17.4, which makes them two of the top seven scorers in the conference.
Don't sleep on guard James Crockett, who has started five straight games and has reached double-figure scoring in four of them. Jeremiah Morgan and Moses Kelly are also big three-point shooters, which is always worth looking out for where the 2-3 Zone is concerned.
If you're heading out to the game, remember DePaul is running a Groupon, even if it is a bit confusing:
Blue Demons tip off conference play against top-ranked Syracuse as reigning Big East rookie seeks to continue scoring barrage.
Rookie who? What? That's not English!