According to some (me), wins are going to be hard to come by for the DePaul Blue Demons. Luckily for them, however, someone invented the non-conference schedule. Even better than that, non-conference schedules are allowed to include teams that may or may not be fictional.
Now, Grambling State is a real school with a real basketball program, but they are as close as it comes to being a created team in NCAA Basketball 2010. Outside of the fact that you can't create teams in NCAA '10 or that the last college basketball video game was three years ago or no one creates a team to go 0-28 in a season -- but really, that's all semantics.
While it is fairly easy to use DePaul as the punchline to any of our bad jokes, they are more competent coming into this season than they are being given credit for. Sure, they are still the frontrunner for being the worst Big East Conference team, but that has more to do with the depth in the league than it does at DePaul's ability to make more baskets than opposing, you know, opponents.
Grambling State, on the other hand, is actually opening their season against two straight Big East foes. After being dismantled by DePaul, Grambling State will play Marquette to assumingly open their season with two losses and as many wins in the NCAA as you or I have in more than the last calendar year.
This is the first meeting between these two programs.
DePaul has never lost to any team that calls the SWAC home (8-0).
The Blue Demons have an outstanding home-opener record of 84-7.
When the game tips-off, it will be the 91st recognized season of DePaul basketball -- and I swear, most of them were not incompetent.
DePaul has won five straight season openers.
Grambling State went 0-28 last season or -- what the cool kids call -- zero for life.
How to Watch
Saturday, Nov. 9 | 3 p.m.
McGrath-Phillips Arena | Chicago, Ill.
TV: FOX Sports 2
Grambling State does have itself a player. Well, they at least have a guy who scored 14.1 points per for a team that had zero wins last season. Reigning SWAC Freshman of the Year, Terry Rose, is the only "key" player for Grambling State. If they plan on having any chance to win or hopes of playing solid basketball, Rose is going to have to go bonkers and fill up the box-sheet. Now, while he was consistent in his scoring, Rose never surpassed more than 22 points in a single game, although, he did accomplish that feat twice as well as eclipsing 20 in a game five times.
The Blue Demons have two guys to watch out for. Both Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young will be looking to continue in their quest for productivity greatness. To be honest, though, both are also hoping to equate their box-score success to more victories this season. Regardless, neither should have any problems against Grambling State and the only way they don't put up big numbers is if Oliver Purnell takes his foot off the gas pedal and rests them in the second half.
Watch to watch for
Billy Garrett Jr. is the easy answer. Garrett is the son of a coach, a relatively highly sought after recruit and a player that DePaul is going to need to be a big-time play maker. It will be interesting to see if Purnell tries to ease Garrett in the rotation or just throws him into the fire. Either way, DePaul is going to need Garrett to live up to and surpass the hype if they want to prove some naysayers wrong this season. The only other option being another, veteran member of the team drastically improving, but that seems pretty unrealistic.
Terribly unnecessary prediction
DePaul 76, Grambling State 53
Even if DePaul isn't as good as some other Big East teams they aren't going to be the first team to fall victim to Grambling State since well before What Does The Fox Say ruined our lives.