DePaul finished the non-conference portion of its season with a 9-4 record, its top wins at Auburn and at Arizona State. Aside from those two wins, not much else on its non-conference schedule was worth crowing about. The non-conference teams the Blue Demons managed to beat have a combined record of just 86-163 to this point in the season.
Their non-conference losses include teams that are hovering around the .500 mark on the season -- Western Kentucky and Loyola (Ill.). Playing cupcakes did not prepare the Blue Demons for the competition that they would be facing in the Big East.
After dropping their first conference game of the season to Seton Hall, they beat Providence to improve to 10-5. They then lost 11 out of their next 12 games. Now 11-16, 2-12 and 13th in the Big East, they are on pace to match the 12-19 record that they posted last season.
Although the Blue Demons have lost all but two of their Big East games this season, their second win coming against Rutgers, they managed to take three of their Big East foes to overtime, including Notre Dame twice.
The backcourt is led by junior Brandon Young, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard who leads the team in scoring at 16.5 ppg to go along with a team-leading 4.5 assists per game. Joining Young in the backcourt is 5-11 senior Worrell Clahar (7.2 ppg), who is second on the team with 3.4 assists per game.
ON THE WING
DePaul's frontcourt is led by 6-4 sophomore Jamee Crockett. The versatile wing is averaging 9.3 points and 4.0 rebounds a game. Accompanying Crockett on the wing this season are 6-9 junior Donnavan Kirk (7 ppg) and 6-6 junior Moses Morgan (6.3 ppg).
IN THE POST
Junior Cleveland Melvin (6-8) is DePaul's best all-around player. He is averaging 16.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per contest. He has seven double-doubles on the season, with nearly a half-dozen more, and has reached 20 points nine times, with a season-high 32 against Cincinnati in January. If the Blue Demons are going to put up a fight against the Cardinals, it will start with Melvin.
The Blue Demons are 129th in the nation in rebounds per game, so if they hope to give the Cardinals a contest they will need to step it up on the backboard. They are also 102nd in the county in assists per game and have only two true ball-handlers. In order to prevent giving up too many points off turnovers, which the Cardinals feast on, Young and Clahar have to do a good job of protecting the ball and creating easy opportunities for their teammates.
UofL and DePaul have met 58 times in a series that dates to 1957, with the Cards holding a 37-21 advantage and a nine-game winning streak, although most of those games were close.