Pregame Shootaround: Georgetown at DePaul

David Banks-US PRESSWIRE

Georgetown (12-9; 3-6) is coming off its biggest win of the season and will travel to play DePaul (10-12; 2-7) in Chicago this Monday night at 9:00 p.m. EST. This will be the second meeting of the season between Georgetown and DePaul. Georgetown won the first meeting 61-54 on December 31st.

Get to Know DePaul.

The Big Picture.

A 3-1 start to the year was the high point of DePaul's season, as the Blue Demons have dropped their last 4 games and 8 of the past 11. Three of the team's best players have been out for the past two games, causing the team to rely heavily on underclassmen for production.

What I learned from Wikipedia.

When DePaul's first sports teams were formed in the early 1900s, the monogram "D" was selected for the uniforms. From this originated the nickname "D-men" which evolved into "Demons." The color blue, which signifies loyalty and was chosen in 1901 by a vote of the student body, was added to the name to create the "Blue Demons". DePaul's mascot is DIBS, which stands for Demon In a Blue Suit.

Notable Alumni: George Mikan (‘46), John C. Reilly ('87), Pete Wentz.

Roster rundown. DePaul has a very young, solid backcourt and a vulnerable frontcourt. It does not help matters that the team is dealing with multiple injuries and is expected to be very understaffed against Georgetown.

Back court.

The Blue Demons might be without two of their top guards for the third straight game. Billy Garrett Jr. (11.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.0 spg) is dealing with an unspecified illness, while Charles McKinney (4.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.3 spg) is recovering from an ankle injury. Brandon Young (14.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.7 spg) will be the alpha dog on offense with forward Cleveland Melvin already declared out for the game. Also look out for 6'4 freshman R.J. Curington (2.8 ppg, 1.0 rpg), who has really stepped up in the past two games with Melvin out, to have an impact in tomorrow's game. Curington is averaging 18.5 points and 5.0 rebounds on 79.4% from 3-point range over the Blue Demons' past two contests. Durrell McDonald (5.1 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.2 apg) and Edwind McGhee (0.6 ppg, 0.5 rpg) have started the prior two games for the Blue Devils in place of Billy Garrett and Charles McKinney, and will do so against Georgetown if the Garrett and McKinney are once again unavailable.

Front court.

DePaul will be without its best player- 6'8 senior forward Cleveland Melvin (16.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.6 bpg)- who has been out since January 25th for violation of an unspecified team rule. Freshman center Tommy Hamilton IV (8.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 44.4 3-pt%) becomes the top option in the frontcourt with Melvin out, and has done a great job this season of spacing the floor for the Blue Demons with his shooting ability. Sandi Marcius (4.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 59.4 FG%), Greg Sequele (1.7 ppg, 1.6 rpg), Forest Robinson (1.6 ppg, 1.0 rpg) and DeJuan Marrero (1.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg) have all seen a significant increase in responsibilities in the wake of DePaul's recent slew of injuries, and all will vie for playing time tomorrow.

DePaul on twitter. Look out for this kid Curington.

What to watch when the Blue Demons have the ball.

  • Blue Demon: Brandon Young. With Cleveland Melvin out Brandon Young has inherited a lot of offensive responsibility. He posted a solid 13-5-2 statline with 3 steals and a block in DePaul's outing against Georgetown earlier in the season, but the Hoyas focused efforts on Cleveland Melvin that night and held him to a 6-point performance (2-12 FG) for 6 points. It will be interesting to see how Young, who has shot 26 times combined over DePaul's last two games, will perform under similar pressure now that Melvin is out.
  • Hoya: Nate Lubick. A big reason why Georgetown was able to maintain its lead over Michigan State on Saturday was because of Nate Lubick, whose defensive efforts, especially in the second half, fired up his teammates more than anyone else could have. He ended the game with two blocks and a steal and almost came away with another steal late in the second half.
  • Number. FG %. Georgetown just held Michigan State to a 39.6% (21-53) shooting night from the field, well below its season average. DePaul, meanwhile, is 236th in the country in field goal percentage and shot 32.7% against Georgetown on December 31st. Considering how well Georgetown just played defensively against Michigan State, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Blue Demons shoot below 35% in Monday's matchup, especially without Cleveland Melvin in the lineup.
  • Feeling delusional because... Georgetown has a ton of momentum on the defensive end and everyone is leaving all they have on the floor. We are catching DePaul at a particularly opportune time in the season.
  • Feeling cynical because... The Hoyas might feel a bit too validated from the MSU game and not prepare enough for DePaul on such a quick turnaround. DePaul is not overly talented or consistent but they have guys who can go off.

What to watch when the Hoyas have the ball.

  • Hoya: Markel Starks. Expect Starks to keep pouring in the points against DePaul. Starks is averaging 21.3 points over his last four games and DePaul is giving up 26.0 points to opponents' leading scorers over the past three games- all of them being guards. I would be surprised if Starks does not score at least 20 points for the fourth time in five games.
  • Blue Demon: Edwind McGhee. The Blue Demons might be without top defender Charles McKinney for the 3rd straight game, and if this is the case former walk-on Edwind McGhee will start in his place. McGhee had played a total of 61 minutes on the season before being forced into action these past two games, and is a big reason for DePaul giving up big numbers to opposing guards. Look for either Markel or DSR to take advantage of this matchup.
  • Number. Rebounds. The Hoyas miraculously outmuscled Michigan State last game and finished with 15 offensive rebounds, about 5 more than they average on the season. None was more important than Jabril Trawick's putback with 1:14 left in the game. We should be able to do plenty of the same against DePaul's weaker group of big men.
  • Feeling delusional because... Georgetown just beat Michigan State with 9 total assists, a 2-12 night from 3-pt territory and no player scoring over 16 points. It also became apparent how much of a well-oiled machine Georgetown can be when Lubick is on his game. The Friars were able to shoot 53.2% against DePaul as a team and 3 Providence players combined to score 65 of DePaul's 77 points. This has all the makings of a blowout.
  • Feeling cynical because... I'm skeptical Lubick will keep playing at the level he showed us in the Michigan State game, and our offense can be quite putrid otherwise. To the point that a team like DePaul could beat us, even.

Conclusion. All things considered, I would be shocked if the Hoyas dropped this one. Everyone on the team is fired up and seniors Nate Lubick, who was unbelievable last game, and Markel Starks, who has been unbelievable for like four games now, have been inspiring their teammates to play better ball. Georgetown looks like a new team these past two games and should cruise past the understaffed Blue Demons.

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