If you had asked me to preview the CBE consolation game four weeks ago, I would've seen it as a miserable chore. But, at 4-1, the Longhorns showed last night that they are capable of hanging with solid major basketball programs. After a disappointing, yet inspiring loss to the BYU Cougars in the "CBE semi-finals", Texas will have a chance to salvage a victory before getting ready for the bulk of their non-conference schedule.
Texas can rebound quickly by taking the consolation game against the DePaul Blue Demons at 6:30 CST on ESPNU. DePaul, who was dismantled by #12 Wichita State on Monday, is looking to straighten out a shaky start to the 2013 season. The Blue Demons (3-2), who have long been considered the basement dwellers of a talented basketball conference, were picked to finish ninth in the first season of the Catholic Circle (Big East) after losing significant contributors in the offseason.
What We Know About DePaul
Head coach Oliver Purnell will rely heavily on his seniors against the Longhorns. The Blue Demons two leading scorers, senior PF/SF Cleveland Melvin and senior PG Brandon Young, will be the foundation in which DePaul will try to establish an offensive scheme. Young, who led all DePaul scorers against Wichita State with 16 points, will need to be able to drain the three pointer for the Blue Demons to be successful. Against the Shockers, he was 0-5 beyond the arc. Scoring, in general, has been a recurring problem for the Blue Demons. In 2012, DePaul ranked 319th in three point percentage and 231st in field goal percentage. Last night, they were 6-20 from the three point line. Considering that the team also struggles with rebounds, this game matches up nicely for the Texas defense. It could be the confidence builder this Longhorn team needs.
But, as we know with the Longhorns, no game is a gimme. DePaul is still waiting on a breakout game from their talented ESPN Top-100 freshman point guard/shooting guard. Billy Garrett Jr, whose father is an assistant coach, will likely see good minutes against the Longhorns. He has yet to have a big game scoring, but his skill-set could give Texas problems on defense. He's second on the team in assists and has incrementally increased his points per game. With the Longhorns (slight) size advantage, guard play will be essential for the Blue Demons on Monday night.
PG- Brandon Young (6-4)
SG- Charles McKinney (6-3)
SF- Cleveland Melvin (6-8)
PF/C- Sandi Marcius (6-9)
C- Thomas Hamilton Jr. (6-9)
Other notables, per DePaul's athletic website:
Texas leads the all-time series by a 7-3 margin... the game is the first between the two sides since a 68-64 Texas win on Nov. 26, 1999 in San Juan, Puerto Rico... DePaul is 31-38 all-time against the current line-up of Big 12 programs... DePaul’s most common Big 12 opponent is Oklahoma State with the Cowboys winning 12 of 20 all-time meetings against the Blue Demons.
Tip: 6:30 CST
It's a game that the Longhorns can win. It'll be interesting to see how they respond after losing a nail-biter to BYU.