After yesterday's loss I didn't really want to watch anymore basketball, but I knew you guys were counting on me. So I scouted the South Carolina - DePaul game to evaluate today's opponent. And then I went ahead and watched Miami - Utah, and Duke - VCU, and why not Michigan - Xavier because you never know. This was all for you guys. It had nothing to do with needing an excuse for getting out of a local production of Aladdin that a friend's 7-year-old is in.
DePaul (1-2) has a special player in junior PG Billy Garrett Jr. He picked DePaul over Florida State, so the FSU staff is very familiar with him. His father is an assistant at DePaul (and was retained by Dave Leitao after Oliver Purnell was let go following last season), and his grandfather is recognized as the first African-American allowed to play at Indiana University.
Garrett Jr. was the Big East freshman of the year, and then had an outstanding season last year. He's long and rangy and leads the team at 14.3 ppg and 3.3 apg.
He's not much of a long range threat, however (32% for his career), and this is DePaul's primary offensive weakness. They're currently 339th in 3-pt%.
The one thing they do well is get to the line. Garrett is 25-26 on FTs (96%). Senior Myke Henry (6-6, 238, 13.0 ppg) is a big bodied forward who rebounds well and can also get to the line.
Defensively, they have a good interior presence in 6-11 junior Tommy Hamilton, but DePaul has allowed each of their three opponents to score at least a point per possession. They're marked by the bad combination of fouling while not forcing turnovers. If FSU wants to bounce back from yesterday's anemic offensive showing, this is a good team to do it against.
The Noles were unable to get much in transition versus Hofstra, and their outside shot wasn't falling. The defense is going have to step up its effort and executing to survive games when the offense struggles. The transition defense has been terrible. The young guys have too often been out of position. And Dwayne Bacon's effort level on that end of the floor needs a lot of improvement.
The game tips at 6:30 and will be streamed online at paradisejam.com. The Noles are a 9-pt favorite in Vegas and Pomeroy has FSU -8.