No. 15 Marquette at DePaul
The facts: 8, ESPNU, 670-AM.
Updated: March 7, 2012 9:53AM
Call this Catholic rivalry week for DePaul.
Long before they were conference rivals of any kind, DePaul, Marquette and Notre Dame were the Big Three among Catholic college powers.
In 1977, Marquette won the national championship. In 1978, Notre Dame reached the Final Four. And in 1979, DePaul went to the Final Four.
In the decades since, all three programs have had their ups and downs. But since they became Big East rivals, Marquette and Notre Dame have revived their basketball identity. It has been a far more difficult road for DePaul.
As the Blue Demons (11-11, 2-8 Big East) prepare to host the No. 15 Golden Eagles (19-5, 8-3) on Monday, the task remains daunting. Not only is DePaul banged up, but Marquette is coming off a loss Saturday to the Fighting Irish that ended its seven-game winning streak.
The Demons, who will visit Notre Dame on Saturday, are coming off consecutive losses to St. John’s and Cincinnati. They fell to the Bearcats on Saturday after leading at halftime, their first loss this season after holding a halftime lead.
But DePaul got some good news when guard Moses Morgan was cleared to play. Morgan missed the game against Cincinnati after fainting at practice Thursday. He had precautionary tests Friday and didn’t travel with the team.
Still a question is guard Jeremiah Kelly, who is nursing a sore left hip that kept him out of the last two games. His status is day-to-day.
The Golden Eagles are led by guard Darius Johnson-Odom, who averages 18 points; forward Jae Crowder, who averages 16 points and 7.5 rebounds; and guard Junior Cadougan, who averages 5.5 assists.
Forward Cleveland Melvin leads the Demons with averages of 18 points and 6.8 rebounds. He had a career-high 13 rebounds against Cincinnati.
Forward Jamee Crockett, meanwhile, scored in double figures for the third time in the last four games, raising his average to 7.4.