Last February 9th, DePaul finally put an end to a nine game losing streak to the Xavier Musketeers as Paul Reed, Femi Olujobi, Eli Cain, and Max Strus all put up double digits. It was one of the most well rounded scoring games of the season. Let’s see if DePaul can start a streak of their own by beating Xavier for the 2nd time in a row.
DePaul hosts Xavier Tuesday, February 4th, at 8PM Central at the Wintrust Arena. It will be sparsely filled. The game will be on FS1, Channel 237 on Comcast in Chicago and on Radio 670AM.
Tale of the Tape
In a huge upset, DePaul wins the Tale of the Tape 5 to 3. Clear tape winners are those with at least a 100 point difference in the chart.
Winner of the Tape: DePaul
So what can we derive from the Tale of the Tape. Xavier and DePaul are scarily similar. Both teams are terrible at 3 point shooting and Free-throw shooting. This is the first Big East game where a DePaul opponent is worse at Free-Throw shooting 65.4% to 65.1%. DePaul has shot even better in conference play, although it does not seem like it. In conference games Xavier has been shooting the 3 better than the Demons.
Poor 3 Point Shooting, The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Look at this horrific graph of DePaul’s last 4 games from beyond the arc. 18.8%, 16%, 26.7%, and 20%. How do you go on a losing streak? Shoot horrifically.
Positive: Opponent’s 3 Point Percentage the Past Two Games
After a stretch of 4 games where their opponent shot over 33% and 2 where they shot 40%, DePaul has played excellent 3Pt. defense in back to back games. Let’s keep this trend in the right direction.
Free-Throw Rate Against Has been on the Wrong Trend Line
The Reason that DePaul lost the prior two, as mentioned in the Marquette post game analysis, was strongly correlated to the amount of fouls and free-throws that the Demons have given up.
DePaul’s Offensive Free-Throw Rate Has been on the Right Trend Line
Let’s contrast Xavier and DePaul in regards to each team’s Offensive Free-Throw Rate.
DePaul has been getting to the line more often of late, and still lost. Xavier has been staying around the same. If this can hold true during this game, the depth of Xavier may be tested.
Who Can Hurt the Demons?
The 6-7 Junior swing man plays the most minutes and takes the majority of the shots.
The 6-9 Senior Center is tied for the highest usage rate with Marshall. He is a rebounding machine. On the defensive end, he rebounds at a slightly better rate than Paul Reed, 39th best in the country. On the offensive side he rebounds at an incredible 17.4% rate which is 6th best in the country. This will be a test of Reed and Butz. I am sure the NBA scouts will be on hand to see how these guys match up.
Point Guard Paul Scruggs shoots 35% from 3. He shoots well on long 2s as well.
Zach Freemantle, 6-9 Freshman, backup Center and Strong Forward. He is an all-around quality shooter. He has the highest offensive rating on the team.
Kyky Tandy, 6-2 shooting guard. 36% from 3. He only plays 25% of the minutes, but when he is on the floor he is looking for 3s.
What is Going to Happen on Tuesday?
This looks like an excellent match up for the Blue Demons, but as we all know, that does not mean much when it comes to conference play. These teams look extremely similar. Both poor shooting at free-throws, poor shooting from 3, but play tough defense. Xavier has more depth.
This a critical juncture for the DePaul season. If the Demons want to make a run to either the NCAA or NIT tournament, they need to start now. Xavier and Georgetown are both ranked in the 50s.
It is now or never for the Blue Demons.
As Max Strus says, “Let’s go!”