Saturday, February 07, 2009


February 7, 2009

It does not get any easier for DePaul, 0-10 in the Big East, when Pittsburgh comes to Allstate Arena for a Big East match-up on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers are 7-2 in the conference and will look to get a win ahead of Big Monday’s match-up against rival West Virginia.

DePaul put up a strong effort in a 76-61 home loss to Marquette earlier this week. The Blue Demons were down by 18 before the 10 minute mark of the 1st half and were without leading scorer Dar Tucker. They battled back to be in the game at the half, but they simply to do not have enough weapons with a healthy Tucker and without him, they never were able to challenge the Golden Eagles.

Pitt’s last conference game was a 93-80 home win over Notre Dame. Sophomore center DeJuan Blair dominated the paint with a 23-point, 22-rebound performance as Pitt rebounded from a loss to Villanova. In an out of conference match-up, the Panthers cruised past neighbor Robert Morris this past Monday.

Here are some pregame stories and previews on the game:

Match-up: Pittsburgh @ DePaul (Chicago Tribune)
DePaul Can Fill Void, but Dar Tucker’s Return Still Key (Chicago Tribune)
Four Ways Pitt Can Finish in Top Four (Beaver County Times)

If Jamie Dixon needs evidence to make sure his team is not overlooking the Blue Demons, he can likely point at Friday night’s Big East shocker of South Florida knocking off Marquette. Pitt comes into Allstate Arena with a large bulls-eye on their back and a match-up with rival West Virginia waiting on Monday night. The USF win, handing Marquette their first conference loss of the season, is pretty clear proof that teams need to be ready every night to in the Big East.

For Pitt, they need DeJuan Blair on the floor. The 6’7, 265 pound big man can not find himself on the bench with fouls, when he does, Pitt can struggle as he is their most important player and will be a handful for the Blue Demons in the paint.

DePaul is likely to have Dar Tucker back in action after he missed the loss to Marquette earlier this week with a sprained ankle. Tucker and backcourt mate Will Walker have provided most of the DePaul offense this season and they will have the tough Pitt defense working hard to stop them.

The latest NCAA basketball betting odds have Pitt as a road favorite. Expect the Panthers to win, but…this one might be a little bit closer than anticipated, although Pitt never is threatened.

NBE Blogger Prediction:

Pittsburgh 75
DePaul 66



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