What happened to DePaul last night

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Remember when I wrote that DePaul was prone to highly variable results due to its press scheme? Yeah, this is what I meant. While I didn't expect last night's 73-51 loss to Indiana State, it certainly was within the realm of possibility.

Unfortunately, for the Blue Demons, what many casual observers are going to see is just the final score and "the same old DePaul." The team that has won just one Big East game in the past two regular seasons and is still struggling to find an identity. They're going to see a team that is currently ranked 210th by Ken Pomeroy, the lowest of any power conference team, and wonder if anything has really changed.
It's not over yet, and there were some positives to take out of this game, but the refrains are getting louder and it would be nice if the Blue Demons could go on a run over the next four games - all at home against mid-major squads. According to Pomeroy they'll be the underdog in three of those games, the lone exception being when Milwaukee comes to Allstate Arena on Dec. 14. DePaul needs more than that one win.
What needs to change?

Here are some quick, bullet point thoughts I got from this game, just from looking at the statistics and play-by-play of course - since I was at Loyola last night.

  • Cleveland Melvin made a difference - Melvin scored 15 points in 23 minutes to lead the Blue Demons. He was 7-11 from the field. If he improves his free throw shooting he could become a legitimate low-post scorer against smaller teams. It should be noted that Melvin also had six rebounds and a block. 
  • Indiana State knew Brandon Young was coming - The honeymoon is over for Young. Teams know that he wants to score now and a team with veteran guards, like ISU, is going to try to take that away from the Blue Demons. While five points is alarming, what I think is more troubling is that he took just five shots all game. Young's five turnovers continue the one negative trend of his freshman season, but that'll change in time.
  • The three-point shooting is getting ugly - After going 1-10 from beyond the arc the Blue Demons have slipped to 23.3 percent from long-distance on the season. That's 341st out of 345 teams in NCAA Division I. Considering Purnell's offensive strategy includes a lot of three-point looks, that might be a serious problem moving forward. Someone, whether it be Young, Jeremiah Kelly, Moses Morgan or another player, needs to find their stroke. It'd obviously help if it was more than one player too.
  • Rebounding, rebounding, rebounding - Last night Indiana State grabbed 34.6 percent of its misses. That's better than DePaul had been up until the game, but it's not good enough. The Blue Demons can't afford to give teams extra looks. 
Also worth noting: This game also continued a disturbing trend of weak first halves for the Blue Demons. DePaul has now been losing or tied at halftime in six of its eight games this season. It's tough to get victories when you're always working from behind.
This process takes time. The next four games though are going to be pretty big for DePaul.

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