Coming off their first winning season in more than a decade, the DePaul Blue Demons look to make it two in a row for the first time since the early 2000s, as their season gets underway Tuesday night in Chicago against the Alcorn State Braves.
The Demons will have a different look this season, as leading scorer Max Strus graduated, second-leading scorer Eli Cain graduated, and third-leading scorer Femi Olujobi graduated. Additionally, head coach Dave Leitao won’t be on the sidelines for the Blue Demons, as he’s still serving his suspension issued by the NCAA over the offseason.
Despite all of that, there’s still plenty to be optimistic about for this DePaul team.
Paul Reed broke out last year, going from a bench player in his freshman season to the Big East’s leading rebounder (8.5 per game last season), and is DePaul’s leading returning scorer at 12.3 points per game. These accolades landed him on the Preseason All-Big East Second Team.
Add in Jalen Coleman-Lands coming back from a hand injury, and an excellent recruiting class and transfer group featuring Charlie Moore, Darious Hall, Markese Jacobs, and Romeo Weems, and it really feels like DePaul might finally be onto something.
What about Alcorn State, though? What do they bring to the table in this game? Not all that much, really. They were picked to finish ninth out of ten teams in the SWAC preseason coaches’ poll, as head coach Montez Robinson has his work cut out for him this year. The Braves did, however, have one player on the SWAC Preseason First Team. Senior guard Maurice Howard will look to finish his college career with a bang, and could give DePaul fits from long range if they’re not careful. Howard led the SWAC in three-point percentage last season (.407) and broke his own school record for three pointers in a season with 91.
Despite that, DePaul should be able to win fairly easily and open their season with a victory for the 11th time in 12 years.
How to watch or stream
Time: 8 p.m. CT
TV: FS2 (Wayne Randazzo, Tarik Turner)
Stream: FOX Sports Go