Wednesday, January 21, 2009

South Florida 70, DePaul 61

I think the nicest thing to call this DePaul team is a work in progress.

They actually led this game with 7:02 left, until Augustus Gilchrist made the three-pointer that put South Florida ahead for good. But in the end, they lost, which they've done in every conference game they've played this year, and it's not hard to see why.

First, the roster construction is a mess. Did you know DePaul had four centers on its roster? Four. The box score lists Mac Koshwal (6-10), Matija Poscic (6-10), Krys Faber (6-11) and Kene Obi (7-2). Those last two played a combined total of 16 minutes, but the end result is that the Blue Demons have only three guards and three forwards and look like a disjointed mess.

And when things are going rotten, they really rot. Down seven points with 1:40 left, the Blue Demons started in with a pretty good strategy. (A little late, probably, but good nonetheless.) They started fouling. South Florida is a disastrously bad free-throw shooting team -- under 60 percent for the year. So put 'em on the line, see if they'll let you back in the game. Makes sense. With 1:40 to go, Chris Howard goes to the line and, sure 'nuff, misses the front end of the 1-and-1. DePaul gets the rebound! They have a chance! The strategy is working!


Poscic is called for a lane violation. Howard gets to shoot the front end again. Makes it. And makes the second. Nine-point lead. Game over.

This is a bad break, but it's the kind of thing that happens when you're a bad team having a bad year. And DePaul has picked the wrong year to be a bad team in the Big East. Four of their next five games are against top-10 teams. Seriously. Their next five is: at Marquette/UConn/at Rutgers/Marquette/Pitt. (No typo. They get Marquette twice in 11 days.) They're 0-6 and headed for no better than 1-10.

But who knows? Maybe this builds character...

Nova, UConn and Louisville all in action tonight. Fire it up.

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