I will be live-blogging from MSG for the Big East Tournament all week at my blog Ballin is a Habit. Come by and join in the conversation!!
We are just one game into the fifteen game marathon that is the Big East tournament, but we may already have our best story.
DePaul was awful all year. How bad? They were just 8-23 on the season coming in, and they lost every single Big East game.
In conference play, the norm is that parody reigns supreme. Teams know each other so well, scout each other so well, and have such long-standing rivalries, that it is almost inevitable that the best teams will lose games they shouldn't. Along those same lines, you expect the worst teams to win games they shouldn't.
That didn't happen for DePaul this season. They somehow managed to go 0-fer the Big East. One of the knocks all season on the Big East was that while they were loaded at the top, they had a number of teams at the bottom that could not play with the UConn's or the Pitt's.
Rutgers was 2-16 this year. One of their wins?
Yup. DePaul (South Florida was the other.)
You cannot say that anymore, as DePaul won their opening round game in the Big East tourney, 67-57 over Cincinnati. While the Bearcats are not destined for the NCAA tourney, there were in the conversation up until their two March losses to Seton Hall and South Florida.
Today, it was all about Dar Tucker. Will Walker had 17 points, Mac Kowlshal added 12 and nine boards, and Jeremiah Kelly added 12 points as DePaul was able to stay with the Bearcats early on.
But Tucker took over in the last 15 minutes of the game. He scored all of his 17 points during that stretch, adding eight boards, as he led the Blue Demons back from an early second half deficit.
The biggest difference was his ability to break the Cincinnati press. His quickness and ball-handling ability prevented the Bearcats from getting effective traps, rendering their press useless.
Congratulations, DePaul. Enjoy it while it lasts. They get Providence tomorrow at noon. Will we see another upset?