DePaul (11-20) vs. Rutgers (14-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 12, 9:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Madison Square Garden (19,763) -- New York, New York. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: DePaul 7-10, Rutgers 10-7. Away Record: DePaul 4-8, Rutgers 3-8. Neutral Record: DePaul 0-2, Rutgers 1-0. Conference Record: DePaul 2-16, Rutgers 5-13. Series Record: Rutgers leads, 5-4.
GAMES NOTES: Closing out the first-round of the 2013 Big East Tournament, the 14th-seed DePaul Blue Demons will clash with the 12th-seed DePaul Blue Demons at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.
DePaul can thank Connecticut for its spot in the 14-team field as if it weren't for the Huskies' one-year ban from the postseason the Blue Demons would not be making the trip to MSG. DePaul had just two wins in 18 league contests this season which was the worst mark in the conference as was its overall record of 11-20. The Blue Demons did earn one of those wins against Rutgers but lost six straight games to close out the regular season afterward. DePaul has only one win in tournament action since joining the Big East in 2005.
Rutgers was only slightly better in Big East action (5-13) than the Blue Demons, although the Scarlet Knights did pick up a win in the regular-season finale against Seton Hall (56-51). That ended a five-game losing streak for the Scarlet Knights, who have just six wins in the Big East Tournament all- time.
The Blue Demons' 75-69 win at home over Rutgers in mid-February was the only meeting of the year. Rutgers now holds a slim, 5-4, lead in the all-time series.
Worrel Clahar tied a career-high with 19 points and Brandon Young dropped in 22 for DePaul on Saturday but it wasn't nearly enough to upset Pittsburgh. The Blue Demons got just seven field goals from the rest of the team in the 81-66 loss in which they let Pittsburgh connect on 71.7 percent of its shots from the field.
The problem for DePaul has not been on the offensive end as the Blue Demons are ranked third in the league in points per game (71.8 pg). It is on defense where they are most vulnerable, giving up 75.5 points per game on 46.5 percent shooting. Each of those marks is among the 30 worst in the country. The inside-outside duo of Young (16.8 ppg, 4.6 apg) and Cleveland Melvin (16.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg) has been strong for the Blue Demons but no other player on the roster is scoring in double figures. Young's 22-point effort against Pittsburgh kept his team-leading streak of 13 games in double figures alive.
Rutgers didn't have a particularly strong offensive showing in its win over Seton Hall but did create enough pressure on defense to grab the win. The Scarlet Knights forced 19 turnovers from the Pirates and outscored them 25-9 off takeaways in the five-point victory.
The Scarlet Knights were already struggling this season before leading scorer Eli Carter (14.9 ppg) was lost for the year with a fractured right fibula in mid-February. In Carter's place Myles Mack (13.3 ppg) remains as the only double-figure scorer on the roster. Mack had 15 points in the win over Seton Hall which was his second straight game in double figures but the first time he has had more than 11 points in the last four games. Rutgers has not been lighting up scoreboards, ranking in the bottom half of the conference in points (68.2 pg) and field-goal percentage (.437).
With Carter out the Scarlet Knights have been scrambling to find some consistency on the offensive end. With Young and Morgan the Blue Demons have no trouble scoring so if they can at contain Mack they may just pull off a minor upset.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: DePaul 69, Rutgers 65
03/12 10:32:49 ET