On March 29, the Blue Demons hired Dave Leitao to fill Purnell's role, his second time as head coach of the school. As you can see in the comments, people were less than thrilled.
Since then, Leitao's put together a nice coaching staff, and even made headway on a few local recruits. Time will tell if he's a better coach than Oliver Purnell. For now, let's take a look at DePaul's top five games of the 2015-16 season.
5. DePaul @ Penn State, November 17
I guess this is an okay starting point. DePaul faces two Big Ten teams this season (more on that later), and this is their Gavitt Games matchup. It would probably be more intriguing last season because Penn State would still have DJ Newbill and he'd be going up against Billy Garrett all night, but Newbill's in France now. It's still DePaul's first road game, and will be seen nationally on ESPNU, so Leitao's bunch has a chance to change their reputation early on.
4. DePaul @ Stanford, December 15
The return game of a home-and-home, the Demons shocked the Cardinal last year at the Rosemont Horizon by a 87-72 margin. DePaul might have a shot at defeating Stanford again this year given that their three leading scorers from last season (Chasson Randle, Anthony Brown, and Stefan Nastic), are all playing professionally now. Looking back at that matchup from last year, those three players were responsible for 46 of Stanford's 72 points, or 65%. For DePaul, Myke Henry scored a career-high 29. He's still around.
3. DePaul @ Seton Hall, January 2
This is a great way to open conference play for both of these teams. DePaul swept the Pirates last season (including a win at the Prudential Center when the Pirates were ranked), so it's certain Seton Hall's out looking for revenge. A win on the road over a Pirates team that should be better than last season would be a great step in the right direction in Big East play for DePaul.
2. Villanova @ DePaul, February 9
Jalen Brunson's first (and hopefully not only) collegiate game in Chicago. DePaul offered Brunson way back in early 2013, but it obviously didn't work out. It could be a huge win for Leitao's program regardless if they can knock off the best team in the conference. We really don't know where DePaul will be come February 9, but if they're still contending for even an NIT bid, it's a testament to Leitao's coaching.
1. Northwestern @ DePaul, December 19
I know, I know. On paper, this game doesn't seem like it should top this list. But the fact of the matter is, this is a big deal for Chicago basketball. Look at what Northwestern coach Chris Collins said in the press release announcing this series last June:
"As a Chicago native, I think it's terrific for basketball in the area to have Northwestern and DePaul play one another, there have been some great games between the teams over the years and we look forward to that continuing."
While neither team is a powerhouse, this five year series could go a long way in getting Chicago-area recruits to stick around the city.