DePaul improved to 6-1 Sunday with a 83-61 win at home against Milwaukee. Here is The Catch and Shoot’s rapid reaction to the Blue Demons’ victory:
—DePaul was incredible defensively in the first half. The Blue Demons blocked nine shots and forced six turnovers, allowing just 0.75 points per possession.
Their perimeter pressure gave Milwaukee very few good looks on jumpers, and the Panthers shot 3-for-11 from deep. DePaul’s bigs protected the paint as sophomore Tommy Hamilton and junior Myke Henry combined for five blocks. But DePaul’s little guys pitched in as well. Senior Jamee Crockett, junior Durrell McDonald, and sophomore Billy Garrett Jr. each had one block in the first half.
The defense was not terrible in the second half, but the Blue Demons were not dominant on that end in the final 20 minutes. DePaul allowed 1.01 points per possession.
—The more Hamilton stays inside, the better. Hamilton can make 3-pointers, but not consistently. His game is in the post and mid-range. He’s been doing a better job of realizing that recently. He had 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks Sunday and shot 7-for-7 from the foul line. He took a pair of 3-pointers and missed both.
As one fan shouted after Hamilton drew an and-one: “Tommy, that’s the good way to get three!”
—Watch out for Milwaukee next year, Horizon League. The Panthers made the NCAA Tournament last year but lost their top two scorers, Jordan Aaron and Kyle Kelm. Then the school announced junior Austin Arians, the fourth-leading scorer on last year’s team, would redshirt after injuring his ankle before the season.
The Panthers are ineligible for the postseason this year and will struggle anyway, so let’s look ahead to next year. They only lose starting point guard Steve McWhorter. That’s a big loss, but with everyone else returning and Arians coming back, next year’s team could contend in the Horizon League.
—Of all five Chicago schools, DePaul may have the best chance of reaching postseason play. I’m only writing about this now because someone tweeted at me earlier asking which of the schools in the area has the best chance of reaching the NCAA Tournament.
The answer to that is none of the five schools are making the NCAA Tournament this year. But in terms of other postseason tournaments, DePaul, Northwestern and Loyola will all have a chance.
DePaul is the only one of those three schools with a truly high-quality non-conference win. The Blue Demons beat Stanford one week ago, so that gives them the inside track.