At some point you have to stop making excuses and just win the games you're supposed to win. After a 64-61 loss at Florida Gulf Coast University on Tuesday night that time is now for DePaul.
Unfortunately, with only the Big East schedule remaining, there aren't many games left the Blue Demons are supposed to win.
Ponder these quick facts:
- DePaul was the only Big East team to lose last night.
- DePaul is 0-2 on the road.
- DePaul is the only Big East team with two losses to teams ranked over 200 in the Pomeroy rankings. (South Florida has one to #208 Central Michigan.)
- DePaul is the first ever major conference team to lose to FGCU, a member of the Atlantic Sun.
- DePaul is 2nd to last in free throw shooting in the country.
The numbers are ugly. But the feelings around the team are even uglier. Once again DePaul is poised to become the laughingstock of the Big East. If 0-18 was bad, what if it becomes 0-36? When you lose to American at home and FGCU on the road it sure makes playing at Villanova or home against Georgetown seem much more daunting.
All of the predictions for last night's game had DePaul as a 70-98 percent favorite. The Blue Demons were supposed to roll past the Eagles and quite honestly, I think DePaul took them for granted. I think the Blue Demons probably looked past FGCU and started thinking about Pittsburgh and the giant Big East monkey that's sitting on their back.
DePaul trailed by 13 points at one point. FGCU lost to Prairie View A&M by 15 earlier this season. Maybe instead of the Big East, DePaul should play in the SWAC this season.
The only quote I can find from Jerry Wainwright about last night's game is as frustrating as the result. After the Blue Demons once again failed to do little things like make free throws (12-27) or hang onto the basketball (13 turnovers), he didn't have many answers.
"We just got Mac [Koswal] back. We're a little out of whack," said Wainright according to the Fort Myers News-Press. "But you can't shoot free throws the way we're
shooting them and win on the road. It's impossible. Give (them) their
due. They beat us and we didn't play well enough to win."
The return of Koshwal was supposed to make last night a rousing success. But Hack a Mac could become the next best way to get teams back into basketball games. Koshwal returned to the lineup to shoot 6-12 from the free throw line. Sure, he played excellently with 16 points and 13 rebounds, but those six extra points sure look huge right now.
DePaul is now 7-5 on the season. And honestly, that should be unacceptable to Wainwright, unacceptable to captain Will Walker (who shot 4-18 from the field on Tuesday) and unacceptable to Blue Demons fans. There is no way, with or without Koshwal, that a Big East team which plays only 2 true road games its first month of the season and 8 games against the bottom half of NCAA Division I should have 5 losses.
Now isn't the time for excuses anymore. Now is the time for wins, and there is just one that DePaul can realistically hope to get for the rest of the season - against Rutgers on Feb. 16. Every other game is going to be an immense struggle for respect.
I hope the Blue Demons realize that fact. I hope they play with heart and intensity. I hope they do the little things, because I thought this DePaul team was different, but it looks like it was a fancy mirage. This team needs to grow up quickly.