After vanquishing the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Wednesday to run their record to 9-0, DePaul prepares to face the Buffalo Bulls in Chicago on Sunday, December 8th, in what may be the trappiest of trap games ever played.
The Bulls have made the NCAA Tournament in 4 of the past 5 years after missing the tournament for over 20 years. This year they are under the coaching of Jim Whitesell after Nate Oats left for the warmer pastures of Alabama. Oats had succeeded Bobby Hurley, who had departed after the 2015 season. Under Oats, Buffalo had their highest seed ever in the NCAA tournament with a seed of 6 last year. Additionally, they had 1st round victories in both 2018 and 2019.
In the 1st round of the 2019 tournament, Oats had the pleasure of defeating Arizona State and his former boss, Bobby Hurley, before losing to eventual National Runner-Up, Texas Tech. Yes, the Texas Tech that your DePaul Blue Demons defeated on Wednesday, December 4th, in overtime at the Wintrust Arena.
Time is a flat circle.
On to the Preview.
DePaul plays the Buffalo Bulls on Sunday, December 8th at 4:00 PM in the South Loop of Chicago at Wintrust Arena. The game will be carried by FS1 (Channel 237 on Comcast.) Radio on 1160AM.
DePaul Almost Hired Buffalo’s former, former Coach
Instead of hiring DePaul’s old coach from the early 2000’s, Dave Leitao, DePaul almost took the plunge with Buffalo’s Bobby Hurley before he made his way to Arizona State. Hurley was listed as the front runner by almost every major media source. Of course, something occurred behind closed doors, and DePaul hired the coldest candidate possible, Dave Leitao. Hey 5 years later DePaul is 9-0 and hoping to go 10-0. Who’s complaining. I mean Hurley has only gotten Arizona State into the NCAA tournament two years in a row, after ASU hadn’t been in one since 2014, and his successor at Buffalo has gotten them to the tournament in 3 of 4 year.
DePaul has only been waiting for a tournament appearance since 2004. No big deal, but it might, just might be the reason there is a hashtag #FireJLP
Fun Facts About Buffalo
The University of Buffalo is the largest school in the SUNY system.
#52 of the Chicago Bears, Khalil Mack, went to Buffalo. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see a Mack appearance tomorrow.
Since 2006, the students have played cowbells at games. Can’t wait to see if they have a traveling party of the most interesting instrument.
Jordan and the Bulls
Tomorrow, for the first time since 1998, in Chicago, a Jordan will dress in a Bulls uniform. Of course it is Davonta Jordan. Sorry to get you so excited.
Who Can Hurt the Demons?
Buffalo looks to be a pretty balanced team. In their 7 D1 games, they have had 5 different leading scorers. The most efficient player would probably be Josh Mballa, a 6-7 Sophomore Center. He has had multiple games where he lead the team in offensive rating, without leading in total points.
It is very clear that DePaul will have a major size advantage at all positions but point guard.
Butz will probably match up with Mballa and have two inches on him
Reed will get Jeenathan Williams who is a 6-5 Power forward and have 4 inches on him.
Weems will get Javon Graves who is 6-3 and have 4 inches on him. Even Jalen Coleman-Lands will have a couple of inches on Antwain Johnson who is 6-2. The only place on the floor in which DePaul will have a size disadvantage will be with Charlie Moore against Davonta Jordan.
Jordan has the highest possession usage of any of the Bulls. He has active hands that generate a high level of steals. The matchup between Jordan and Moore should be a fun one for sure. Buffalo has a quick tempo, the 7th fastest in the nation, and Jordan is the one who pushes it. Moore will probably relish that pace.
Tale of the Tape
The statistical Tale of the Tape leans DePaul’s way, along with the physical measuring tape.
What is Going to Happen Tomorrow?
DePaul’s length is going to expose Buffalo. The Blue Demons are going to send a steady dose of Jaylen Butz and Paul Reed to take advantage of their size. DePaul is going to smother the Bulls on the defensive end, as Buffalo has issues making twos and threes.
I expect the Demons to win by 12, in a fast paced game with plenty of end to end action.
And if DePaul does go 10-0, and avoids the trap?
We very well may see DePaul ranked for the first time since 2000.