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Sleeping with the Enemy: The Blue Demons of DePaul

Another game, another chance for a season sweep. After locking up their second victory over St. John’s on Saturday, your Georgetown Hoyas can seal their second victory against DePaul Wednesday at home. Here for the second time this month with all the insight you need about the Blue Demons (and more), is Dan Stack, longtime DePaul blogger. You can follow him on Twitter @stacdemon.

So, it looks like you guys found your first Big East win eventually. What have you thought of this DePaul team as of late?

Well, a win over St. John’s was good at the time, but the subsequent losses to Providence, Marquette and Butler have all but sapped the energy out of the fanbase. It just seems that the team can’t get over the proverbial hump and that the team is once again regressing and playing their worst basketball of the season.

They can’t hit the broad side of a barn right now and have now shot less than 39 percent from the floor in their last three games. Eli Cain at point is not working and many are hoping that he can be moved off the ball, so he can excel at what he does.

Learning how to win is something this team is having a hard time grasping, and in turn it’s breaking the backs of fans who thought this year might be different.

To outsiders, it might just seem like DePaul is bad. But how does this team compare to past seasons? What sort of differences do you see?

I truly believe the talent has been upgraded with the addition of Max Strus and Marin Maric (who is likely out for Wednesday with a knee sprain). However, solid holdovers like Cain and Tre’Darius McCallum (even Strus has taken a step back) have been brutal lately. Their confidence looks shot. Coach Leitao is reluctant to play some freshman and the team is reverting back to playing one-on-one basketball.

They just can’t seem to stick to a cohesive game plan.

DePaul has one of the worst luck statistics in KenPom. How have you seen that play out?

I’m admittedly not too well versed in the nuances of KenPom metrics.

I do know DePaul has gotten a lot better over the last few years on basic fundamental defense, and to give credit where credit is due, they are a terrific rebounding team. However, the pack-line defense leads to many open three-point looks and that has killed the team.

Plus, the offense is something to be desired. The team has shown it can share the rock in some games, but every little adversity they face has resulted in too many players trying to play hero and go one-on-one.

It is what it is.

When these two teams last played, four Blue Demons reached double figures but the bench scored just four points. How much better do you think this team could be with just a little more depth?

It could have helped out a lot. We all thought we’d have more depth this season, but several factors have doomed DePaul on this front: Leitao not trusting his freshmen more, starting point guard Devin Gage going down eight games in with a season-ending injury, and Ohio State transfer Austin Grandstaff proving to be a bust. So, yeah, more depth could have helped.

Tell us about the Rec-Specs Dancing Walk-On guy on DePaul’s bench.

His name is Pantelis Xidias (another Greek Freak) and he is a pure delight. While some bemoan his antics, especially for a team that constantly loses, he is just trying his best to rub off his positive energy onto his teammates. How can you have a problem with that?

He’s a glorified walk-on who played for current DePaul assistant coach Shane Heirman at prep powerhouse La Lumiere last year and the Demons roster has a few ex-La Lumiere players on the team. So, there is a family affair with him on the roster.

Ever since DePaul’s first game against Notre Dame, he’s become a national treasure with camera crews always looking for a close up. He has a huge presence on Twitter and people across the country just can’t get enough of him.

He’s like an amalgamation of the little kid from Jerry Maguire and Ralphie from A Christmas Story.

The NFL is just awful, isn’t it? But reluctantly I ask, who ya’ got, Eagles or Patriots?

As a New Yorker and die-hard Giants fan, I absolutely loathe this matchup. However, either by Brady’s heroics or the refs playing a part, I think we see another New England championship with the Patriots winning 28-24.

If you could have one vacation spot or tourist attraction all to yourself for a day, which one would you pick?

Any place in the Caribbean with clear oceans with Pina Colada’s at my disposal will do. Perhaps, a place with a hotel on top of the ocean. Maybe Hawaii, too, but, you know, minus the imminent nuclear holocaust notice.

What is the unhealthiest thing you have ever eaten?

Hmm, for a long while I was an unhealthy eater. I’d say eating KFC’s double-down chicken sandwich was the worst thing. It was not bad, but the guilt I had for eating it led to me to never have it again.

Final score prediction?

Last time I predicted a win and that worked out bad for me, so this time I’ll go the opposite direction and hope the team that won in D.C. last year shows up again. So, I got Georgetown winning 75-65.