DePaul Blue Demons vs. Connecticut Huskies Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 14th 2024

Top-ranked UConn is set to visit Big East cellar dweller DePaul on Wednesday night in a bid to extend its conference winning streak to 13 games and an overall run against the Blue Demons to 17.

Nonetheless, should Huskies coach Dan Hurley see complacency among his players at any point at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, they know this: Hurley has timeouts and isn’t afraid to use them.

With Saturday’s outcome at Georgetown seemingly well in hand, the Huskies (22-2, 12-1) were huddled around Hurley in the final minutes of an 89-64 victory.

“We looked soft on the defensive end. We weren’t sharp on the offensive end,” UConn’s Alex Karaban said. “That makes him, him. That’s why he’s the best coach.”

With Karaban (25 points), Stephon Castle (17), Cam Spencer (10), and Samson Johnson (10) all scoring in double figures, the Huskies shot 61.1 percent from the floor against the Hoyas. That included 45 percent accuracy from long range.

Though stats such as those rightly prompted Hurley to admit, “we’re not vulnerable in a lot of spots right now,” they don’t mean he’ll hold back when moments of weakness emerge.

Such as the stretch run on Saturday, with the Huskies en route to their 12th victory in a row.

“If you don’t keep your foot on the gas … (in March), your season ends and you lose and you go home and you’re disappointed with how it ends,” Hurley said. “Those are habits and behaviors that have to be entrenched.”

DePaul (3-20, 0-12) enters on an 11-game losing streak that started against the Huskies.

The Blue Demons were coming off their most recent win, 70-58 against visiting Chicago State on Dec. 30, when they lost 85-56 at then-No. 4 UConn on Jan. 2.

DePaul lost by three points at Georgetown four days later but has lost by at least 13 points in every Big East game since. The Blue Demons struggled to 38.3 percent shooting in an 85-57 loss at St. John’s on Feb. 6 while placing just two players in double figures.

Reserve K.T. Raimey led the way with 11 points, while Jalen Terry added 10.

DePaul fired coach Tony Stubblefield during the skid, leaving interim coach Matt Brady to hone the program’s approach and mindset in step with working on Xs and Os.

“I’ve really been trying to shape this team in an emotional way,” Brady said. “I’m trying to group both the individuals in the group as a whole to understand the importance of mental toughness, body language and trying to improve teamwork and the camaraderie with the group on and off the court.”

Through five games with Brady at the helm, the Blue Demons sense progressive improvement, despite still looking for their first win under the new coach.

“Coach Brady is obviously doing a great job,” guard Jaden Henley said. “He’s kind of pushing us to just stay together. Keep pushing because the coaching change wasn’t ideal, obviously. Just keep pushing hard every day and trying to get better.”

–Field Level Media

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