The DePaul Blue Demons received votes in the AP Poll this week.
They aren’t ranked, but they received votes.
Fifteen years of jokes and futility seems to be nearing an end, as the Blue Demons are one of 18 remaining undefeated teams in the nation, and one of just 11 to be 8-0 or better. They’ll put that undefeated record on the line Wednesday night when Chris Beard and the Texas Tech Red Raiders come to Wintrust Arena to kick off the Big East-Big 12 Jamboree.
Texas Tech, of course, is coming off a season that ended with an overtime loss in the National Championship Game against Virginia, but the Red Raiders aren’t the same team this season. They currently sit at 5-2 on the year, having dropped their last two games to Iowa and Creighton after picking up five wins against low-majors to open the season. When this matchup was announced last year, it was looked at as pretty daunting since DePaul was, well, DePaul, and Texas Tech was on the shortlist of the nation’s best teams. In the words of Michael Scott, how the turntables.
Texas Tech’s decline this season is due largely to the loss of 2019 KenPom Player of the Year Jarrett Culver. Culver led the Red Raiders in points, rebounds, and assists per game last season, and he parlayed his success into a lottery selection in the 2019 NBA Draft. Matt Mooney (11.2 PPG) and old friend Tariq Owens (8.7 PPG, 2.4 blocks per game) also both departed after graduating. So, it’s a much different looking team this season for Beard.
A byproduct of Texas Tech’s success under Beard has been a bump in recruiting, and that’s crystal clear if you look at 2019-20 leading scorer Jahmi’us Ramsey. The four-star freshman guard has done a serviceable job trying to make up for Culver’s departure on offense, averaging 17.3 points per game and shooting 46% from beyond the arc. However, Ramsey injured his hamstring in Tech’s loss to Iowa and missed the game against Creighton. He’s currently day-to-day, per Chris Beard.
If Ramsey can’t go, the brunt of the offense will likely run through Davide Moretti. Moretti was second on the team in scoring last season at 11.5 points per game, and has bumped that number up this season to 14.3 points per game, while also shooting 100% from the free throw line and 45% from three-point.
Also, it’s worth noting that one-time DePaul commit and Chicago native Terrence Shannon is in his freshman season with Texas Tech. Shannon has averaged 9.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game this season.
In all, it feels like DePaul matches up fairly well with the Red Raiders. It feels like road games against Iowa and Minnesota should be a bigger challenge than this game, and DePaul already passed those tests. It may be foolish to doubt Beard’s defense, as that’s his forte, but it seems like it will be particularly tough for the Red Raiders to stop all three of Charlie Moore, Romeo Weems, and Paul Reed. In their two losses to Iowa and Creighton, Texas Tech allowed a combined 21 three pointers. If Moore and Weems can get in a groove from long range early on, things will go very smoothly for the Blue Demons.
How to watch or stream
Time: 7:30 p.m. CT
Streaming: FOX Sports Go