What version of DePaul will we see?
There has been a lot of unexpected buzz surrounding the Blue Demons' resurgence when Big East conference play began. After beating ranked Seton Hall on the road with a fouled out Billy Garrett Jr. in the final minutes, DePaul seemed to demand respect as a contender. After Seton Hall, we witnessed Butler completely dismantle the once #24 Pirates by 20 and DePaul blow an 8 point lead at halftime against Xavier to lose by 13. The Big East, top to bottom, is certainly one of the most competitive conferences in the country right now. And how is it possible to gauge the Blue Demons? DePaul is also the only team in the Big East to have allowed more points then scored; yet they’re 5-3. The are the best 3 point shooting team in the conference and one of the best FT % teams but got destroyed 52-24 in paint points against Xavier. DePaul is welcoming the success, but how reliable is their consistency?
Providence isn’t exactly producing big wins…
The Friars certainly aren’t making it easy for themselves as their wins over Butler, Georgetown, and Xaiver, were a 3-4 point swing, 2 of them needing overtime. Dropping an L against Marquette continues the "any given night" recurring theme amongst Big East play through January. Ladontae Henton is consistently leading his team averaging 21.2 PPG and when he is getting to the free throw line, Providence has come away with these tight wins. Providence has been known for their theatrics coming out of nowhere to capture the Big East tournament title last year and are embedded in the Big East’s elite. It will be interesting to see how they handle a hungry DePaul team.
What is at stake?
Both programs are looking for their 6th win in conference play that will solidify them amongst the top of the standings. DePaul certainly has more to prove on the road, as it is the 3rd game of their current road trip. DePaul is looking to improve off of their 1-1 trip and to stretch their conference total to 6-3. Providence wants to continue to build their resume and not take unnecessary loses in the confined conference. Not one team has firmly established first place yet and both teams are in position to make a run on Thursday evening.