After several setbacks, the DePaul Blue Demons (0-0) are ready and good to go to begin their season. It was set to start November 25 against Western Illinois but the game had to be canceled due to a positive case of COVID-19 within their program. They also had to cancel games against Chicago State and Alcorn State while postponing their game against Northern Illinois. The season now kicks off today with a matchup against the Iowa State Cyclones (1-1) in Ames, Iowa at 5 P.M. Central Time.
It’s been 270 days since the Blue Demons last took the court. Their last game was a 71-67 win over Xavier in the Big East 2020 Men’s Basketball Tournament. At the time, they were one of the final winning teams of the season which became a high note for the struggling Blue Demons. They hope to continue that momentum into this season with their matchup against the Cyclones.
For the second year in a row, the Big East and the Big 12 are going up against each other in the Big 12-BIG EAST Battle. Both Iowa State and DePaul won their matchup last season and look to improve on that record. Blue Demon fans will remember their previous Big-12 matchup as it was a highlight of their 2019-2020 season. DePaul tied the game in the second half to force overtime and sneak away with the win after some heroic shots from Jalen Coleman-Lands.
Speaking about JCL, he’s know longer a Blue Demon has found himself on his third college team. That team so happens to be DePaul’s first opponent- Iowa State. The Cyclones are just two games into the season but the graduate transfer Jalen Coleman-Land has made an immediate impact. He is the Cyclone leading scorer with 14.5 points on 46.2 shooting. He also is averaging 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 2 steals per game to start the season. JCL could prove to be a challenge for DePaul has he is familiar with the team and many of their tendencies. And to add to that, players always want to prove something to their past teams.
Iowa State took some losses with the departures of Tyrese Haliburton (NBA Draft) and Blake Hinson (transferred). Fortunately for them, the did bolster the roster with a handful of transfers. Besides JCL, they added Rasir Bolton from Penn State, Tyler Harris from Memphis, and Javan Johnson from Troy.
The Cyclones have shown two different team in their first two game so it could be a toss up at how the game plays out. Last season, they finished 12-20 and 5-13 in conference which put them second to last in the Big 12. Not much is expected from them this season either. The Big-12 preseason rankings have them in a similar spot and the KenPom Ratings have them at 71. DePaul is currently at 81.
The last time these two faced off was on December 20, 1967 at Alumni Hall. It was the two teams only meeting and DePaul came out with the 67-63 win.
Roster and Team Outlook
DePaul Blue Demons finished 16-16 and 3-15 in the conference in 2019-2020. They were 11-17 at home, 4-9 on the road, and 1-0 at a neutral site. They finished last in the Big East in 2019-2020 for what many will say seems like the Blue Demons’ reality for yet another season.
- Paul Reed- NBA draftee. Averaged 15.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.9 steals, and
- Devin Gage- Transferred to Fresno State. Made 12 appearances in 2019-2020 and averaged 4.5 points.
- Jalen Coleman-Lands- Transferred to Iowa State. Did not miss a single game in 2019-2020. He averaged 11.1 points per game.
- Charlie Moore- Lead team in scoring (15.5 ppg) and assists (6.3 apg). One of three Blue Demons to start in all 32 of DePaul’s game in 2019-20.
- Jaylen Butz- Not expected to play to start the season. Last season, averaged 10.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
- Romeo Weems- Must take a big step in his sophomore season. He averaged 8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.8 blocks per game. Started in all 32 of DePaul’s games in 2019-20.
- Darious Hall- Averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds in 2019-2020.
- Nick Ongenda- Expect Ongenda to make a big leap in 2020-21. Last season, averaged 2.7 points and 2 rebounds in 27 games (1 start).
- Oscar Lopez- Appeared in 21 games in 2019-20.
- Jason Malonga- Only played in 5 games in 2019-20.
- Markese Jacobs- medical redshirt
- Brendan Favre- Only played in 3 games in 2019-20.
- Pantelis Xidias
- Javon Freeman- Liberty- Transfer from Valparaiso
- Courvoisier McCauley- Transfer from Lincoln Memorial (Tennessee).
- Paul Paulicap- Transfer from Manhattan.
- Ray Salnave- Transfer from Monmouth.
- Kobe Elvis- Freshman
- Max Williams- Freshman
It’ll be challenging to come out with a win as they have yet to play this season and their opponent does have two games. The last time DePaul did play in Iowa, the Blue Demons demolished the Iowa Hawkeyes. They could look to carry the year-long momentum for another win in Iowa.