This Is Not A Drill: DePaul Is Your Big East Leader



Do not adjust your monitors: Three games into the Big East basketball season, DePaul is undefeated and your league leader.

If the Blue Demons take this any further, we may reach DEFCON 1; or, more appropriately, the DePaulcolypse. And why not? The Big East is an absolute mess right now.

Seton Hall, which reached its highest ranking since the P.J. Carlesimo era at No. 19, was an 11-point loser Wednesday night at Xavier. The Pirates’ loss came just a few hours before DePaul exacerbated the post-Dougie McBuckets woes of Creighton.

And, given Xavier’s last time out before hosting Seton Hall was a three-point loss to this very same DePaul team, it’s likely the Pirates’ stay in the Top 25 is a brief one.

That means only Villanova will remain in the rankings next week — assuming the Wildcats hold serve Saturday against the Blue Demons.

Oh, who am I kidding?

Unpredictable as the Big East might be right now, a lopsided Villanova win over DePaul is as much a certainty as there is in college basketball. Sure, the Blue Demons are in first place, but this isn’t the 1980s, a decade in which they made the NCAA Tournament every year but one (and had some sweet commercials).

On the contrary, DePaul is in Year 11 of a decade of despair. The 2004 season marked the Blue Demons’ last Dance, and that drought won’t end in 2015. Their conference wins came at the expense of Marquette, which would be hard-pressed to score 60 points in an empty gym; a wildly inconsistent Xavier bunch; and a Creighton team that is a shell of past Blue Jays squads.

Villanova will burst DePaul’s bubble and we can regain some normalcy.

But really, why shouldn’t DePaul be a contender in the Big East, or at least a perennial tournament team? Chicago is one of the most talent-rich prep basketball regions in America; surely a modern-day Mark Aguirre is out there somewhere on the Windy City hardwood.

While recruiting locally, DePaul benefited from the national profile afforded it by WGN in the 1980s. Today, it seems like I can’t turn on Fox Sports 1 without there being a DePaul game on.

All this era of DePaul basketball needs is its Ray Meyer. Maybe it’s Oliver Purnell — Meyer didn’t make the Final Four until his 38th year. Purnell’s in his fifth season, so just 33 more to go!

In the meantime, it’s perfectly acceptable to celebrate DePaul’s small victories — like starting 3-0 in the Big East and sitting alone in first.