GAME NOTES: The DePaul Blue Demons and South Florida Bulls will clash at the Sun Dome on Sunday for a battle at the bottom of the Big East Conference standings.
DePaul (11-17, 2-13) is just one game ahead of the last-place Bulls (10-17, 1-14) in the Big East standings entering Sunday. This will be the 27th matchup in history between these schools on the hardwood. The Blue Demons own a 16-10 all-time series edge, but the Bulls have won the last seven matchups.
Oliver Purnell's Blue Demons suffered their third lopsided loss in a row on Wednesday as Louisville invaded Allstate Arena to down them, 79-58, in a very physical contest that featured 36 total turnovers and the same number of personal fouls. DePaul came out of its first four true road tests with victories including wins over Arizona State and Providence. However, it has lost its last six away games since defeating the Friars on Jan. 5. After their visit to the Sun Dome, the Blue Demons will venture to the Carrier Dome to take on Syracuse before returning to Rosemont to conclude their regular season against Pittsburgh.
DePaul has struggled this season despite the stellar play of Brandon Young and Cleveland Melvin, who score 16.7 and 16.5 points per game respectively. Young also paces the team in assists (4.6) and steals (1.6), while Melvin is the Blue Demons' top rebounder with 7.2 boards per game. The duo combined for 44 of the team's 59 points versus Louisville as DePaul connected on only 35.9 percent of its field goal tries and just 1-of-8 from 3-point range. The poor offensive showing was unusual as the Blue Demons are the third most productive team in the Big East with 72.5 ppg. They unfortunately have found nowhere near the same amount of success on the other end of the floor where they give up a conference worst 74.7 ppg.
South Florida will be looking to snap a 10-game losing streak as it celebrates its Senior Day. The Bulls' lone victory in conference action came over the Big East-leading Georgetown Hoyas on Jan. 19, but they have since lost by eight points or more nine times after a 64-44 setback at Pittsburgh on Wednesday. USF came into conference play after an impressive 9-3 run through its non- conference slate, which is a big reason why it still owns a .500 record at home.
Victor Rudd was the lone Bull in double figures with 16 points in Wednesday's 10-point loss at Pitt. Rudd leads the team with 11.7 points and 7.1 rebounds per game followed by senior Toarlyn Fitzpatrick's 10 points and 5.1 boards per contest. USF is the least productive unit offensively in the Big East with just 58.5 ppg and its futility showed against Pitt as it went 15-of-47 from the field to be held to 50 or fewer points for the eighth time in 15 conference outings. The Bulls trailed the Panthers by only a single point at halftime before they missed 10 of their first 11 shots in the second stanza to hand the game to Pitt.
This is an interesting matchup as DePaul is decent offensively and terrible on defense while USF is the exact opposite. The Bulls should be able to generate enough offense against the Blue Demons' porous defense than they usually do. The home court advantage should come into play as USF attempts to pull the Blue Demons down to the bottom of the standings.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Florida 69, DePaul 63
03/03 10:34:30 ET
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