Something smells foul
While the Blue Demons dominated nearly every facet of last Friday's game, the main reason that Illinois-Chicago was able to come back late in the game was the foul trouble that DePaul got into. Both teams had 22 fouls called on them, but the Flames didn't mismanaged their foul shooting in the same way that the Blue Demons did. DePaul couldn't seem to hit anything at the line, shooting an abysmal 50 percent, as opposed to the 83 percent foul shooting that UIC was doing. UIC was not shooting well enough from the field to beat DePaul, but the Blue Demons are very lucky that the charity stripe didn't do them in.
The foul numbers also hurt the production ability of DePaul's big men. Forrest Robinson and Myke Henry had four fouls, and Tommy Hamilton, Jr. had two. Suffice it to say that their games were seriously hampered by foul trouble, as they could no longer be as aggressive down low. That's one of the main reasons why UIC's Jake Wiegand was able to put up 15 points and 12 rebounds on the Blue Demons.
Three's a crowd
DePaul may have shot well from the field last week, knocking down roughly 44 percent of their attempts, but their 3-point shooting was quite lamentable. If it is taken out of the equation, DePaul shot about 64 percent, which is phenomenal. Unfortunately, they could not seem to make any threes in the second half. Forrest Robinson managed to go 3-4 from three in the first half, but due to foul trouble, his court time was a bit limited and he quickly went cold, finishing at 3-6 from behind the arc.
Drake is a bit of a different beast though. In their matchup with Bowling Green -- a 77-58 loss -- both teams were hitting essentially half of whatever they threw up from behind the line. Drake shot very well, but the conversely could not defend the arc. If DePaul wants to be able to seal a victory, they'll have to limit Drake's perimeter shots and do their best to exploit Drake's defensive faults. As the showed against Bowling Green, Drake cannot defend the three point line all that well. If DePaul can do a solid job of thinning out Drake's defense around the outside by knocking down threes from a variety of players and locations (Billy Garrett, Jr. and Forrest Robinson did a good job of this in the first half of the UIC game), then that will open up a world of possibilities for Tommy Hamilton and Myke Henry down low. If this works out tonight, many of the DePaul big men could put up some big numbers for the Blue Demons.
If DePaul wins a game, but nobody is there to see it, does it really count?
The obvious answer is of course it does, but on a less superficial scale, one can determine that the win means a lot less if there aren't fans consistently showing up to watch DePaul play. I'm not saying that DePaul should have fans coming out in droves to watch the Blue Demons play, but a solid base that returns night after night is essential to the success of the program.
Attendance at Friday night's season opener was solid, due in large part to the fact that the game was on campus at McGrath-Phillips Arena, and it was part of a season-opening doubleheader that featured the 18th-ranked DePaul women's team facing off against top-five foe Texas A&M right before the men's game. On Monday, the women's team played at home against Bradley, so it is likely that DePaul will not be getting the same draw that they did last Friday. The men's game is at Allstate Arena, so DePaul will likely suffer the same attendance woes that it has in the past when playing at home. Although, this is the first regular season game for DePaul at Allstate Arena this year, so a part of me is still holding out hope that they will generate a solid crowd that is optimistic about the season.