Fifteen years ago — Jan. 3, 2008, to be precise — Jerry Wainwright’s DePaul Blue Demons put six scorers in double figures to knock off No. 17 Villanova in suburban Chicago.
DePaul has not beaten Villanova since then, while the Wildcats have won two NCAA championships and posted just one losing season. Meanwhile, the Blue Demons haven’t appeared in any NCAA Tournaments and posted just one winning season. Is it any wonder Villanova has won the last 22 meetings between these Big East rivals?
DePaul’s next chance to break the streak comes Tuesday when the Blue Demons (7-9, 1-4) host the Wildcats (8-8, 2-3) in Chicago.
DePaul has dropped five of its last six games while Villanova has dropped three of its last four. Both teams have wins at Georgetown’s expense.
If the Blue Demons are going to clamber away from their traditional spot near the bottom of the Big East, they’re going to need to get healthier. Neither point guard Caleb Murphy (11.4 ppg, 3.4 apg last year for South Florida) nor center Nick Ongenda (8.7 ppg, 1.7 blocks per game) has played a minute this year.
Murphy’s absence has forced Oklahoma transfer Umoja Gibson, expected to be the Demons’ starting shooting guard, to run the point all season. He’s averaging 15.5 points and 5.1 assists, but his shooting percentage has dipped to 39.3 percent.
“We’re asking a lot out of ‘Mo,'” DePaul coach Tony Stubblefield said. “You know he is doing a great job, giving us all he’s got. We’re asking him to do a little bit more than probably the plan was when he came in, but he’s doing it.”
If the Wildcats are going to cascend their traditional spot near the top of the Big East, they could use starting guard Justin Moore. After averaging 14.8 points for last year’s Final Four squad, he has yet to play this year due to the Achilles he tore in the Elite Eight.
If Moore doesn’t return, then freshman Cam Whitmore has more opportunity to display his five-star skills. Whitmore, who missed the first month with an injury, scored a career-high 26 points Saturday at Xavier.
“Cam is an elite offensive player,” Villanova coach Kyle Neptune said. “He is a talent.”
–Field Level Media