DePaul Blue Demons vs. Marquette Golden Eagles Pick & Prediction JANUARY 24th 2024

The matchup between Marquette and DePaul in Chicago on Wednesday could hardly look more lopsided.

The Golden Eagles (13-5, 4-3 Big East) are ranked 14th in the nation, own four victories over ranked opponents and have won two straight.

Meanwhile, the last-place Blue Demons (3-15, 0-7) have lost six straight, and coach Tony Stubblefield was fired on Monday.

Marquette comes to town fresh off a 73-72 win over St. John’s in New York, and the Golden Eagles did it the hard way. After missing all 11 of their 3-point attempts in the first half, they flipped the script in the second half, shooting 75 percent from the floor, including 6 of 9 from deep.

Golden Eagles coach Shaka Smart said, “One of the things we talked about (at halftime) is we really actually liked the position we were in, being a six-point game given the fact that we were 0-for-11 from three and missed a bunch of other, you know, easy shots around the basket.”

The Golden Eagles posted their first conference road win this season after going 7-3 away from Milwaukee in the Big East last season.

“The way our guys, like, came together and fought in battle to start the second half, that felt familiar,” Smart said postgame Sunday. “That’s what we’ve done in the past on the road to go take games. It’s not easy, and even then it comes down to the last second.”

DePaul wasn’t close at the end of any of its past four games leading up to the coaching change. Stubblefield was just over halfway through year three of his five-year contract, adding to the disappointing recent history of the Blue Demons program.

DePaul, which has not made it to the NCAA Tournament since 2004, went 28-54 under Stubblefield, including a brutal 3-24 mark in the Big East dating back to the beginning of last season.

“We want to thank Coach Stubblefield for his hard work and determination over the last two-plus seasons to move our basketball program forward through a new era for DePaul Athletics,” vice president and director of athletics DeWayne Peevy said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we did not meet our goals.”

Taking over on an interim basis is Matt Brady, who was hired as special assistant to the head coach last June. Brady’s resume includes a 212-177 record in 12 years as a head coach at Marist (2004-05 to 2007-08) and James Madison (2008-09 to 2015-16).

Brady inherits a team that is 0-6 in January. The only close game was a three-point loss to Georgetown, the Hoyas’ only conference win of the season.

Another hurdle for Brady: The Blue Demons were awaiting word on the status of Chico Carter Jr., who is averaging a team-high 11.8 points per game, slightly better than Da’Sean Nelson (11.4).

Carter missed DePaul’s 74-60 loss to Butler in Indianapolis on Saturday due to an undisclosed injury.

Marquette gets the bulk of its 77.2 points per game from the trio of Kam Jones (15.1 ppg), Tyler Kolek (14.3) and Oso Ighodaro (13.9). Kolek averages 6.9 assists and 1.7 steals, and Ighodaro grabs 6.8 rebounds per game.

In another sign of the Golden Eagles’ scoring balance, Kolek has led the team in scoring six times, and Jones and Ighodaro have done so five times each.

–Field Level Media

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