Northwestern Wins: A College Hoops Blog

An ode to Verne Lundquist’s calls and everything college basketball

Big East Preview: #12-#11

Posted by Zach on October 16, 2008

12. DePaul Blue Demons– Coach: Jerry Wainwright (4th season)

Backcourt: Sophomore Dar Tucker is already being pegged as a potential breakout candidate this season. The athletic guard/forward combo player scored nearly 14 PPG coming off the bench last year. Tucker needs to improve on his defensive game, but certainly shows explosiveness on the other end of the court with highlight reel dunks and a constant penchant for attacking the rim. The evolving of Tucker from showing flashes of brilliance to a steady team leader will be a huge question for the Blue Demons. Will Walker made strides to be the most improved DePaul player last season and must take over as full-time point guard for coach Wainwright. Jabari Currie is the teams designated three-point popper, finishing at 47.1% from long range last year. The emergence of Tucker and improved point guard play from Walker should open up great looks. Incoming freshman Jeremiah Kelly should also provide aid for Walker backing him up at point. Grade: B-

Frontcourt: Super sophomore Mac Koshwal is the main focus of the frontcourt. Koshwal is a future NBA prospect due to his rebounding abilities (finished fifth in the Big East as a freshman), size (6’10, 240) and advanced footwork in the paint, allowing himself more simple looks at the basket resulting in easy baskets. Koshwal could find himself averaging nearly a double-double this season. Joining Koshwal up front is the second member of the Chicago twin towers in 6’10 senior Matija Poscic. After a disappointing campaign last year in which Poscic weltered dealing with the pure physicality of the Big East, coach Wainwright hopes a season of adjustment will be followed up by a more steady, efficient approach from Poscic, along with an improvement over the 2.1 PPG he finished with in 07-08. 6’11 freshman Krys Faber could turn out to be more of a compliment to Koshwal by the end of the season. Two wing players will also add depth to the frontcourt, including the super-athletic freshman Devin Hill and long distance shooter Mario Stula. Grade: C+

Bottom Line:
DePaul has the potential to really take off this season. The rough-and-tumble Big East doesn’t help their cause, though. Ever since Wilson Chandler departed early, this team has been dismal on the offensive and defensive boards, along with lacking any ounce of consistency on defense. The rebounding starts with Koshwal and the defense starts with Tucker. These two sophomores are Big East-caliber talents, but they must complete their game for the Blue Demons to threaten for an NCAA berth.

Starting Lineup:

G- Dar Tucker (SO)
G- Will Walker (JR)
G- Jabari Currie (SR)
F- Mac Koshwal (SO)
C- Matija Poscic (SR)

Key Non-Conference Games: 12/3 @ California, 12/6 @ Northwestern, 12/13 @ UCLA, 12/22 @ Saint Louis
Key Conference Games: 1/17 vs. Cincinnati, 1/31 @ Rutgers, 2/3 vs. Marquette, 2/25 vs. Villanova
Most Valuable Player: Dar Tucker
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

11. Cincinnati Bearcats
– Coach: Mick Cronin (3rd season)

Backcourt: The breakout player in the entire conference last year may have been guard Deonta Vaughn. The sophomore put up outstanding totals: fourth in 3PT%, eighth in FT%, ninth in APG and finished with 17.3 PPG to boot (all conference ranks). Coach Mick Cronin is hoping Vaughn makes the leap from not only a superstar scorer but also floor captain for an offense with a few more pieces than a season ago. It’ll be nice having Williams when defenses key on Vaughn this season. Cronin also likes the addition of speedy freshman Cashmere Wright as a chance-of-pace off the bench, along with the ability to break down defenses and penetrate for easy buckets. Incoming freshman Dion Dixon is a three-point specialist and will help spread the floor for Cincy. Fellow guard/forward Rashard Bishop started 20 games as a freshman and proved to be a consistent glue guy on the court for Cronin. Grade: B

Frontcourt:
Mike Williams is finally healthy. The Texas transfer has been on the Cincinnati campus for three years now- he had to sit out a year after transferring in 06-07 then suffered a season-ending injury in practice in 07-08- and the former McDonalds All-American is finally prepared to contribute. His leadership, experience, scoring and rebounding should be invaluable for a still relatively young Bearcat squad, and Williams could be the second double-digit scorer alongside Vaughn this season. Not a bad one-two punch for Cronin to work with.  Freshman sensation Yancy Gates is a player to watch. He already possesses a strong post presence with surprising athleticism for a man of his stature. Anthony McClain is a 7-foot statue in the paint that can be a force in the Big East if he improves his assertiveness and aggressiveness on both ends of the floor. Western Carolina transfer Nick Aldridge should be the first off the bench and add another scoring option. Grade: B-

Bottom Line: Even with the disappointing first round CBI exit, the Bearcats came a long way last season, finishing with marquee Big East wins and turning around what looked like an unraveling program in November. This team finished just 2-14 in the conference after the departure of Andy Kennedy, and with the breakout of Vaughn along with key additions such as Mike Williams, Cronin has this team in the right direction. They may even find themselves firmly on the bubble if the Bearcats can score at a more steady basis and Gates adds that third weapon on offense. Also worth noting Cincy plays one non-conference road game the entire months of November and December.

Starting Lineup:

G- Deonta Vaughn (JR)
G- Rashad Bishop (JR)
F- Mike Williams (JR)
F- Yancy Gates (FR)
C- Anthony McClain (SO)

Key Non-Conference Games: 11/28 vs. Florida State, 12/6 vs. UAB, 12/13 vs. Xavier, 12/29 @ Memphis
Key Conference Games: 1/7 vs. Providence, 1/17 @ DePaul, 1/28 vs. Georgetown, 2/26 vs. West Virginia
Most Valuable Player: Deonta Vaughn
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

#10 Providence and #9 West Virginia for tomorrow.

Advertisements

One Response to “Big East Preview: #12-#11”

  1. […] 5. Marquette, 6. Georgetown, 7. Syracuse, 8. Villanova, 9. West Virginia and 10. Providence, 11. Cincinnati and 12. DePaul, […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: