Editor, Dave Klinger (Photo: Morry Gash / AP)
College basketball season is quickly approaching. In an effort to preview it, we spoke with ten bloggers or writers, each covering a different Big East men’s basketball team. Today, we have a conversation with Under The El, a blog covering DePaul hoops. Get to know your enemy by reading their answers below. Lastly, we asked them to rank the Big East.
2015-16 Record: 9-22 overall, 3-15 conference
Why will DePaul win?
Compared to DePaul teams of the past that played a distinctive pressing style or shot lots of threes, there isn’t one thing that this team should excel in. So for DePaul to win it will do so by limiting turnovers, by playing good half-court defense, and with balanced scoring–in other words, by playing better basketball. DePaul showed last year by upsetting two top-25 ranked teams that when it executed head coach Dave Leitao’s pack-line defense and drove to the basket, they were competitive. The issue was consistency.
Why will DePaul lose?
With 8 newcomers (2 redshirting) this team will have a lot of ups and downs as players acclimate to the Big East. DePaul’s biggest weakness, though, is the lack of post players. Three big men transferred, including 3-year starter Tommy Hamilton. Incoming freshman Eli Cook and JUCO transfer Tre’Darius McCallum will likely play most of the start minutes, but both are undersized and not rim protectors. So playing teams with talented big men or attacking guards will be a struggle all year.
What is DePaul’s ceiling and floor?
DePaul will likely find its familiar place near the bottom two of the conference with the floor being last place. There are reasons to be hopeful for the future–especially in redshirts Austin Grandstaff and Max Strus and 2017 recruit Justin Roberts–but this will be a transition year before new players are here and the new arena is finished. If DePaul puts it all together their ceiling is likely a 7th place finish.
Who should I be afraid of…and why?
Billy Garrett Jr. is DePaul’s most familiar and best player heading into this season. Seen as the future of the program after winning Big East Rookie of the Year in 2014, Garrett is now heading into his senior year and has still never taken a step into the group of elite players in the conference as many anticipated. Garrett is still one of the most reliable guards in the Big East with his ability to attack the basket and draw fouls. If Garrett takes the next step and plays like a Big East first-teamer by improving his assist rate and three point percentage, DePaul will steal a few unexpected wins.
Rank the Big East.
5. Seton Hall
10. St. John’s
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