Xavier is back on the road this weekend with a game at DePaul. To get you ready for the game, we talked to our good friend, Dan Stack, who is the senior writer at We Are DePaul and the Big East columnist for TodaysU.com. Dan helped give us insight on DePaul's team as well as places to go eat, so let's get started.
1.) How would you describe DePaul's season so far?
To make it short, about as close to what was expected. New/ex-head coach Dave Leitao was handed a flawed roster and his first order of business was to shore up the defense and rebounding. He has done a great job with that (your ex-assistant coach Rickk Carter has helped BTW). On the flip side, while having solid scorers in Billy Garrett Jr, Myke Henry and Tommy Hamilton, the offense has leveled off and that's been a tad discouraging. It's been a give-an-take season and there is some hope DePaul can build some momentum heading into next season.
2.) Last time we met, Myke Henry had a pretty good game. Who else should we be watching out for on Saturday?
Henry has been without a doubt the most consistent Demon and the offense usually runs through him trying to get to the hoop. A player that is not getting much respect is freshman Eli Cain. He is a versatile wing who can play multiple positions. Cain loves to attack the hoop and shift gears while in the paint. He is quickly gaining some confidence and maturity. I like him to finish the season strong. And of course, there is always Billy Garrett. He had a bad game Wednesday (six points on 2-7 shooting), but he rarely has two bad games in a row.
3.) How are fans feeling about Dave Leitao?
Most did not like the hire and you can't blame them. Most thought DePaul should have gone with a "sexy" hire to inject some life into the program. However, DePaul did have some success under Leitao when he was here last time. You know, the last time DePaul made an actual appearance in the NCAA Tournament! He may be viewed as a retread hire, but he does have a no-nonsense approach to the game that is refreshing. Most are at least willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, while hoping he can turn things around. But after so many years of ineptitude, and as DePaul heads into a new era with a new arena being built for 2017, the leash is short according to the fanbase.
4.) The game is Saturday at 2 pm in Chicago. For the Xavier fans heading that direction, where should they eat before the game and where should they eat/drink aftewards?
Shoeless Joe's on W Higgins Rd (about a 5-minute walk to All State if that) is a good one-stop place for all drinking and eating (at least in the Rosemont area). They have a great selection of craft beer and the food is all solid and it's not too cramped. For later, I suggest Giordano's in Chicago.
5.) Score prediction?
Xavier is too tough, too deep and too talented, but I got the Blue Demons sticking around and perhaps covering the spread. Xavier 77 DePaul 67.