What do Western Carolina, Cal State Northridge, Indiana St. and Ball St. have in common? They've all beaten DePaul this season. Let's not beat around the bush folks, DePaul is a bad basketball team and if UConn doesn't win easily tomorrow, it means something has gone seriously wrong.
The Blue Demons are 6-10, have opened Big East play by losing their first four games, and, at least by most statistical measures, are the worst team in the conference. KenPom has the Blue Demons ranked 149th in the country, which is a full 49 spots behind the second-worst Big East team, South Florida. There are exactly three power conference teams ranked lower than DePaul (Auburn, Mississippi St. and Wake Forest). Get the picture?
You can't fault DePaul for making the jump to the Big East a few years ago, but it is looking more and more apparent that the school is in hopelessly over its head, and at some point you have to wonder if it would make more sense for the school to drop out of the conference and get back to a level where it can actually be competitive.
This is UConn's last "gimme" game of the season, but there still are a few things to keep an eye out for. First, keep an eye on Alex Oriakhi, who has been very impressive in his last two outings. If we see a third-straight good effort from him, I'll feel a whole lot better heading into Monday's matchup with Villanova.
Second, Cleveland Melvin, a former UConn recruit, is having a nice little freshman year for DePaul. It seems like Roscoe Smith would have taken most of his minutes anyway, but there have certainly been times this year when his 6'10" frame would have been nice to have up front.
I'll also be interested to see how Calhoun allocates the minutes tomorrow. UConn will have as short of a turnaround as I can remember this week, because less than 48 hours after they finish up with DePaul in Chicago, they'll have to take the court against Villanova in Storrs. If the Huskies build up a solid lead, it might not be a bad idea to give the starters a few extra minutes of rest with an eye on Monday.
On a personal note, I'm excited because this is going to be the first time this year I'll be able to see the Huskies in person. I obviously won't be in the thread, but I'll be sure to report back with my observations.
The game tips at 2 p.m. est. SNY and ESPN3 have your TV coverage. This is your OpenThread. Go Huskies.