DePaul travels to New Jersey to take on undefeated in Conference play, Seton Hall. This matches the top and the bottom of the Big East through the first seven games of conference play. The Blue Demons and Pirates played a close game in Chicago to start the beginning of the conference season. With 2:36 seconds left in the game, Charlie Moore converted both free-throws to put the Demons up one. Unfortunately, these were the last points scored by DePaul on the day. On the ensuing possession, Seton Hall’s Myles Powell pumped faked Romeo Weems into the air behind the 3 point line and put his shoulder into Weems to ‘earn’ 3 free-throws. Powell sunk all 3 shots, putting the Pirates up by 2, a lead they would never relinquish.
DePaul takes on Seton Hall Wednesday, January 29th, at 5:30PM Central at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The game will be on FoxSportsOne Channel 237 on Comcast and on Radio 670AM.
Can’t Make a Three, and Can’t Guard a Three
The postgame analysis of the second St. John’s game went into great detail related to DePaul’s dual issues with the 3 pointer. DePaul is currently the worst 3 point shooting team, and 2nd worst at defending the 3 in the Big East conference season. If non-conference games are included, DePaul would only be the 4th worst shooting team and 8th worse defender of the 3. Everything has trended in the wrong direction.
5 of the 7 conference games have seen DePaul shoot 5 of their worst 6 games for the season. The last two games have been the worst two shooting games of the season.
The same can be said in relation to the defensive side of the ball, 5 of the last 7 games have been 5 or the worst 6 three point defending games. This cannot continue.
Who Has Been Playing Well in Conference?
To no one’s surprise, Paul Reed has been the best player for the Demons in conference play, and one of the best in the entire league.
Jaylen Butz, when healthy, has also be a solid all around player.
The graph below give a good indication of where our starters have fallen within Conference play.
Reed has gone to the upper right hand corner, where the Excellent offensive and defensive players are located. Of the men in that quadrant, Reed shows the best offensive skill, while being one of the more dominant defenders.
Butz also falls into this quadrant. Not as dominant on either side of the ball, but he is proving his reputation as an all-around player. I do not think it is a coincidence that the two worst performances by the team, Butz was not playing in one due to the flu (Creighton), and was not himself due to recovering from sickness in the other (St. John’s II).
The left side quadrant has the positive offense, negative defense players, also known as the Markus Howard quadrant. Look at Howard way to the top and left, crazy. Jalen Coleman-Lands and Charlie Moore fall into this category. JCL’s metrics say that he is a better defender and more valuable offensive player than Moore. This takes into consideration turnovers, steals, and offensive efficiency.
The last member of the starting 5, Romeo Weems, falls into the bottom right quadrant, the good defense, questionable offensive players. Weems has been the 5th option on offense in conference play and has not had a lot of plays drawn up for him. Weems uses up on 14.5% of the possessions, and sometimes those end in turnovers when he tries to set someone else up.
If you are curious where the other Demons have fallen, here is an image.
As far as conference has gone, none of our guys off of the bench have brought offense to the table. There is no 3 point shooting threat to speak of. Most have given defensive contributions to some level. Hall and Ongenda stand out. DJ Williams hasn’t played enough to be evaluated.
None of this graph should be a surprise. This hits all of the check-marks of what our eyes (and box scores) have been telling us.
Tale of the Tape
Word on the street is that Sandro Mamukelashvili might come back from a broken bone in his wrist to play against DePaul. Doubt that he will be a big contributor but this writer wanted everyone to know he will probably play. When healthy he is an excellent 3 point shooter.
Let’s get to the ‘Tale of the Tape’.
Things have changed since the last meeting. I described the first meetings as “one of the most even ‘Tale of the Tape’ sections we have seen this year”.
Now Seton Hall has a great advantage in Six of the Categories (count free-throws just once), while DePaul has Four great advantages.
Winner of the Tape: Pirates.
Free-Throw Rate and Making of Free-Throws Will Possibly Decide the Game
One item that will definitely factor in to the game, the free-throw rate. Seton Hall leads the conference in getting to the line. Part of this is because they generally have the lead late in the game, but the other part is because Myles Powell crashes into people on offense drawing fouls. Even though Powell has missed a couple of games, he has taken 95 free-throws this year, and he shoots 80% from the line.
Funny enough, DePaul is 2nd in the conference on free-throw rate, mainly due to teams knowing it is better to foul Jaylen Butz and Darious Hall and take your chances at the free-throw line with a 47% free-throw shooter and a 55% free-throw shooter. Once again, you are not imaging it. Butz and Hall have the highest free-throw rates on the Blue Demons. Hall is the highest at 66% rate of getting to the line, and Butz qualifies as having the 36th highest Free-Throw rate in the country at 64.6% rate. Butz has the highest Free-throw rate of qualifiers in the Big East Conference. The volume of free-throw shots going to these poor shooters are a huge reason why as a team DePaul struggles from the line.
Charlie Moore has taken more free-throws, but since he has taken many more field goal attempts, his free-throw rate is much lower than Butz.
Who Can Hurt the Demons?
Seton Hall has Myles Powell, old school yard buddy of former Blue Demon, Eli Cain. Powell has an incredible usage rate of 34%, which means that possessions go to him to die. Only 10 other players in the nation use more possessions than Powell. He puts up the 5th most shots in the country. He shoot 34.5% from 3 and puts you on the horns of dilemma between his shooting from the outside or driving inside with his man.
Powell murdered the Demons the first time around with 27 points. 10 from up close and 11 from the free-throw line. He took 15 free-throws which with the 2nd most he had ever taken. It was real frustrating to watch.
6′ 4″ Senior guard shoots 35% from 3. Shoots 85% from the free-throw line. Not fun.
I was extremely impressed by Gill in the first game. The 7’2″ Senior (and I mean Senior, dude is 25) Center is a block-shot machine. He blocks 15% of all possessions, which is 6th in the country. The Pirates funnel everyone to him in the paint and he swats everything away. This allows the other defenders to stick to the arc and challenge shots. Gill has fouled out in two of the Big East games thus far. It will be key to get him into foul trouble early, because he disrupts the offensive flow for sure.
What is Going to Happen on Wednesday?
The Jersey crowd will be up for it. I am hoping because of the early start, it will be a late crowd. We will see. I do not hold much optimism for this game. Last week sucked a lot of life out of me, but DePaul did beat these guys twice last year, and played them very well the first time around. Can DePaul shoot worse from 3 point land? 16% is kind of hard to do again. Can another opponent shoot 40% or better against the Blue Demons? It has happened 4 times this year, and in 3 of the last 6 games. My guess is that DePaul will shoot better and defend better, but the overall excellence of Seton Hall will be all that matters in the end.