Thursday, May 30, 2013

I APOLOGIZE BUT NO CONTENT IS BEING ADDED TO THE BLOG AT THIS TIME. PLEASE CONTINUE TO FOLLOW THE TWITTER FEED FOR INFORMATION AND OPINIONS: TWITTER.COM/UNDERTHEEL

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

UPDATE: DePaul On-Campus Arena Rumors Heat-up; Potential New Site

In the past few days local news outlets have picked up the story of the newest addition to DePaul's strategic plan for 2018 that includes an emphasis to "bring men's basketball back into the city". Below are links to the several stories:

Chicago Sun Times:
http://www.suntimes.com/sports/colleges/11544685-419/depauls-strategic-plan-calls-for-mens-team-to-return-to-city.html

Comcast (David Kaplan):  
http://www.csnchicago.com/ncaa/news/DePaul-looking-to-build-new-arena-land-C?blockID=677786&feedID=630

Fox News Chicago (Lou Canellis):  
http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/sports/fox-chicago-exclusive-depaul-to-build-new-arena-on-fullerton-and-sheffield-20120327

Many of the stories indidate some frequently rumored sites such as the Finkl Steel or Morton Salt locations. The newest rumor emerges from the Fox News Chicago report that indicates the University's "preferred location is Fullerton and Sheffield". Having an on campus arena at Fullerton and Sheffield would have an immediate impact on the number of students attending. It is important to know that DePaul owns a large portion of the land as indicated below. It would be a tight squeeze for a 8,000-10,000 seat arena, but could fit. Admittedly, there will be many uphill battles should DePaul pursue the location at Fullerton and Sheffield. Stay tuned as more rumors are sure to follow after the Board of Trustees meets in May.

Interactive Google Map indicating proposed location and DePaul owned land in blue:


View Larger Map

Detailed Map with approximate dimensions according to Google Maps:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

DePaul Seeking Opportunities to Bring Men’s Basketball Back Into the City

As pointed out by some posters on the message boards today, a draft of DePaul's strategic plan for 2018 shows an interesting update. The University has included in the section for "Develop facilities, technology and the infrastructure" section a goal to "Seek opportunities to bring men’s basketball back into the city" (Picture Below). The on campus arena talk is always going to be around as most fans are aware Allstate, while viable, is not the best option for university moving forward to remain competitive in basketball. It is encouraging to see that the planning committees are looking towards finding ways to have return basketball to the city as part of the strategic planning.

Click to Enlarge
A login is required to view the entire Strategic Plan, so it is included below:
March 2018 Strategic Plan Draft

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

To Run or Not to Run? 5 Questions with Rumble in the Garden

With an upcoming game tomorrow night at 7:30 at Allstate Arena against Big East opponents and fellow Vincentians St. John’s, Under the El spoke with Pico from Rumble in the Garden to find out more about this new looks St. John’s Team:

Be sure to check out Rumble in the Garden before the game tomorrow to get an in depth analysis for the first match up with the Red Storm. A few recent stories I want to highlight including a mid-conference statistical breakdown of the entire Big East and, along with Blue Demon Nation, we answered 5 questions about DePaul.


______________________________________________________


With an unexpected rotation from when the season began, how do you feel the current group of players have adjusted to the most recent changes – the subtraction of Nurideen Lindsey and the addition Amir Garrett?

Rumble: The players were working through the adjustment process already, but the loss of Nurideen seemed to be helpful. The remaining players fit. Amir Garrett doesn't need the ball to be successful; Nurideen did, and that kept shot-making opportunities out of the hands of D`Angelo Harrison and Moe Harkless. And while Lindsey's been replaced by a less offensively talented player in Phil Greene, the drop off is almost minimal; Greene allows others' usage rates to grow and is actually looking to pass. He's effective outside of five feet from the rim, whichmeans defenders have to pick him up sooner. 

Garrett has provided a lot of energy and a willingness to bother passes and ballhandlers. As he improves, he'll be one of those players who makes a lot of impact that's not covered on the stat sheet.

As Coach Lavin continues to recover from prostate cancer, is there any noticeable difference between Lavin and Associate Head Coach Mike Dunlap in regards to coaching style, game planning or interaction with players?

Rumble: Not really. Dunlap was a large lart of the game planning and style of the team. Where there is a possible difference is in between games, and how the players are discussed. Mike Dunlap is a very serious, cerebral coach, whereas Lavin keeps players loose, and taps into a lot of the "heart" of the players, despite having strong opinions about instituting a fast-paced, transition-oriented style. Dunlap seems to get along well with the remaining players; Lindsey and Dunlap were said to not get along well, and that is the one casualty of not having Lavin... though that divorce might have happened anyway. 

Moe Harkless, a Queens native, has been playing terrific lately including a 30 point, 13 rebound performance last game against then No. 8 Duke. There has even been the dreaded one-and-done talk. Has anything changed in Harkless' game to account for the improved performance and what will he need to improve if he is to make it to the next level?

Rumble: Harkless has gotten more confident and aggressive. He's attacking off of the dribble, trying to assault the offensive glass, and seems to have developed a better touch. His teammates are finding him more as well, and he makes good cuts to the basket. He's become a touch more decisive and he gets shots off without turning over the ball.

In terms of getting to the next level, he has got to improve his shooting from outside the arc and his consistency. This three-game stretch is nice, but NBA scouts will have a lot more confidence in him if he can maintain this level of activity and effectiveness.

DePaul typically forces teams to speed up, but watching St. John's this year it's evident they have the athletes to compete. What is St. John's bigger weakness, wearing out their short rotation or forcing them to play a half court game?

Rumble: The half court game, by a long shot. St. John's played a fast-paced game against Villanova about 10 days ago, and only had one player foul out. The players are good at marshalling their energy, the staff is good at managing their minutes, and the training staff has kept them healthy and uninjured. (They do bi-weekly yoga as well to keep them loose.)

But in the half-court, especially against a big team, it's hard for players to generate shots. Most of the roster aren't good shooters, so against a set offense, there are few places where they can get good, makeable shots. But they are athletes. When they run, the wings Sir`Dominic Pointer and Amir Garrett are unleashed. 

Do you see a win? How could it happen?

Rumble: I see a win. Sad but true. DePaul has some players, but they don't do the things that would bother the Red Storm: a) slow the pace b) defend with tall players and c) shoot the hell out of the ball. Added with DePaul's permissive defense, I think that if St. John's comes to play with 3/4 of the effort they brought against Duke and West Virginia, they roll in this one. St. John's does an okay job of stopping opposing teams' penetration, and they defended penetration well in fast-paced games against Villanova and Providence. 

As long as the Johnnies don't lose control of their game, I think they take this one. 


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Tomorrow night will undoubtedly be an important game for both teams trying to turn the corner. It’ll be interesting to see how both coaches game plan considering the similar styles of play, strengths, and weaknesses. 

Saturday, December 31, 2011

DePaul Non-conference Review

Before the story a quick announcement; You may have noticed that post have been infrequent (irr…nonexistent) recently. There are a variety of reasons for that, but mostly because I am trying to decide the role of the blog.  I did a few posts with game preview and reviews, but there are already a lot of sites that cover that material well. As of now, I’m going to focus more on analysis pieces.  Also, continue to check the Twitter page, as I continuingly keep it up to date. Now to the story. 

Going into the season, a few key concerns DePaul fans had surrounded depth, due the injuries, and Cleveland Melvin’s new perimeter game. Under the El takes a look at how those two elements have played out early this season.

Depth

Under the El ran a story in October after injuries to Montray Clemons and Tony Freeland coupled with Macari Brooks being ruled ineligible, that depth was going to be an issue this season. To see if there was any correlation between the loses and the lack of bench production, Under the El looked at the percent of bench minutes and points along with the rotation.


In DePaul’s three loses, there was not a noticible dip in bench minutes or production.  Purnell also was not forced to use a smaller rotatation than he prefers. So depth has not been as big of an issue as many, including myself, thought it may be in the beginning of the season. Given the circumstances of injuries and an inexpereicned bench, the production has been better than expected. According to KenPom.com, the average NCAA team’s bench contributes 31.7% of minutes, so DePaul falls in line with the majority of the NCAA. 

Melvin’s 3 Point Shot

The other major worry of DePaul fans going into the season was that Cleveland Melvin’s new focus on three point shooting would hurt the team. Lets take a game by game look at Cleveland’s three point shooting this season.


At a glance it appears Melvin has struggled connecting on only 26.3% of his three point attempts. However, there is a noticeable difference in his game beginning in December as indicated with the red line. Statistically, there is no definitive explanation for the increased shooting percentage. Perhaps it was Purnell limiting his shot selection or just an adjustment period for his new offensive weapon. If at the beginning of the season I told you Melvin would be hitting at 37.5% of his shots and averaging 3.4 three-point attempts per game, I’d imagine you’d be pretty satisfied. I would too, and if Melvin keeps up his post December numbers, it will only help his and DePaul’s offense.

As DePaul enters Big East play fans will have to hope that the bench production and health remains and that Melvin maintains his post December shooting numbers. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

DePaul rallies late but loses to Ole Miss 70-68

5 Brief Breakdowns

Close Games – No one wants to hear it, but get use to close games. This team is still young, and has a lot of losing habits to overcome. Through the first six games it appears the team is more comfortable from behind than with a lead. Playing with a lead takes discipline and experience, two aspects our young Demons do not have. The players that are the future of this team, particularly Young and Melvin, have the ball in their hands at the end of game. This experience will be vital if not this year, then next.

Free Throws – DePaul fans want to point towards free throws as the reason they lost, and while it may be true, it is also the reason they almost won. Below is a breakdown of the FTA, FTM, and differential through 6 games:


DPU FTA
Opp. FTA
+/-
FTA
DPU FTM
Opp. FTM
+/- FTM
UTPA
7
23
-16
5
14
-9
MVSU
21
29
-8
12
20
-8
Minnesota
13
27
-14
13
17
-4
Texas Tech
24
27
-3
17
21
-4
Arizona St.
10
21
-11
8
13
-5
Ole Miss
26
28
-2
17
11
+6

The FTA differential typically hurts DePaul, but last night DePaul kept the game close because they were able to get to the line and Ole Miss struggled at the line. DePaul was able to get to the line, in particular, because of Brandon Young’s ridiculous hesitation move and change of speed that leads to buckets, assists, or fouls. DePaul is still a good free throw shooting team hitting at a rate 71.3% (100 in NCAA). On the contrary, opponents are shooting 61.9% (43 worst percentage in NCAA). Hard to find an exact reason why opponents have struggled shooting free throws against DePaul, but the most likely answer is the defensive pressure.

Screens – The interior defense has struggled all season, and DePaul will continue to struggle because it lacks the size and length to compete with many of the nation’s frontcourts. However, many of the times DePaul gave up easy baskets were because of communication issues on ball screens. On multiple occasions they did not call ball screen switches, and left their man with an open lane. Calling back screens is also important in transition defense, otherwise the result can be a man on the floor (ex. Charles McKinney last night). Offensively, except for Faber, we have are awful at setting screens. If Melvin is going to play the four, or even five at times, he has to screen better. He does not set his feet, but rather turns to receive the ball before the screen in complete.

Rebounding – If you listened to the Minnesota post game or the Oliver Purnell show on Wednesday night it was obvious that rebounding has been a point of emphasis in practice this past week. The team got the message, outrebounding 38-39 an Ole Miss team that had the most rebounds per game in the nation entering the contest. It was truly a team effort with 6 players with more than 3 rebounds including 6 team rebounds.

-3 Points and +3 Wins– The toughest part of DePaul’s nonconference schedule is over. According to KenPom, DePaul is favored to win their next 6 games leading to Big East play. The closest contest will likely be Wisconsin-Milwaukee (53%) on Monday and at Loyola-Chicago (55%) on Wednesday. If the predictions hold true, DePaul enters Big East play against Syracuse on New Year’s Day with a 10-2 record and a 6 game winning streak. While the loss last night will linger, DePaul fans should be happy if this result can hold true. It will mean that DePaul only lost 2 games by a combined total of 3 points, and won 3 more games all of last year with 18 games remaining. But as a reminder, expect some close games.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

DePaul vs Minnesota Chalk Talk


DePaul (2-0) vs Minnesota (4-0) in the Old Spice Classic

Minnesota Quick Facts:
  • Conference: Big Ten
  • Head coach: Tubby Smith (4th season at Minnesota)
  • Located: Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA
  • Mascot: Golden Gophers 

Numbers Don’t Lie*:
  • Mbakwe is pretty good at getting to the free throw line. Ok, that is the understatement of the year. His current Free Throw Attempt to Field Goal Attempt rate (FTA/FGA) is a ridiculous 155.5. As a result, the team rate is 58.1, good for 16th in Division 1
  • Minnesota is not good or and doesn’t like shooting the three point shot. As a team, they are shooting 30.8% (224 in NCAA), and only 16.4% (327 in NCAA) of their points come via the three point shot. Conversely, DePaul is shooting 43.1% (29 in NCAA) and 38.6% (64 in NCAA) of their points come from behind the three point line.
  • DePaul is currently #1 in NCAA for percentage of shots blocked, only 1.3% of their FGA. This is likely the result of a small sample size and lackluster teams, but if it is a trend, it’ll be important against a large frontcourt.


3 Players to Watch:
  • #32, 6-8 F, Trevor Mbakwe Mbakwe is a beast in the frontcourt, and will likely regardless of DePaul’s efforts and game planning. It’ll be important to limit Mbakwe’s touches, and force their gaurds to win the game
  • #50, 6-11 F/C, Ralph Sampson IIISampson missed the last game with an ankle injury. He’ll likely not be 100%, but his size alone will be a problem
  • #1, 6-1 G, Andre Hollins/ #13, 6-2 G, Maverick Ahanmisi/ #00, 6-3 G, Julian Welch Minnesota is currently practicing PG by committee with Hollins (17.5 MPG), Ahanmisi (13.3 MPG), and Welch (16.8 MPG) splitting minutes at the lead guards position. It should be an advantage for DePaul if they can force their three guards to make plays. If not, the game could get ugly.

Keys to the Game
  • Hitting perimeter shots
  • Frontcourt players staying out of foul trouble
  • Creating turnovers against Minnesota’s guards 

*All stats courtesy of KenPom.com