Next meeting: At DePaul, Rosemont, Ill.
Last season: Jerome Dyson scored 20 points as UConn ended a three-game losing streak -- one that followed a victory over No.1 Texas -- with a 64-57 victory over DePaul at Gampel Pavilion. It was the Huskies' sixth consecutive game without coach Jim Calhoun, who would remain on medical leave for a total of seven.
For the Blue Demons, it was the fifth consecutive victory in what became a 13-game losing streak to end the season. DePaul finished 8-23, 1-17 in the Big East. A couple of weeks earlier, the Blue Demons had ended a 24-game conference losing streak with a home victory over Marquette.
Again, however, it was another dismal year in Rosemont. Coach Jerry Wainwright was fired in January, replaced by assistant Tracy Webster on an interim basis.
Who's gone, who's back: Oliver Purnell, previously at Clemson, is DePaul's new coach. He will try to orchestrate the revival of a program that has fallen on hard times. The Blue Demons have made the NCAA Tournament 22 times and the Final Four twice but are now struggling mightily in the Big East. DePaul is 1-35 in conference play the past few seasons, unable to recruit like other conference schools and unable to keep a few good players from leaving early.
Mac Koshwall, a junior, is the latest to bolt for the pros. He was DePaul's best player last season, averaging 16.1 points and 10.1 rebounds. Will Walker, the team's leading scorer at 16.2 points a game, exhausted his eligibility.
Forward Mike Stovall is the leading returning scorer, having averaged seven points last season. The UConn-DePaul rivalry: UConn leads the all-time series, 4-1. In the teams' first meeting, the Huskies defeated DePaul, then coached by former Calhoun assistant Dave Leitao, 72-55, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies would go on to win their second national title.
UConn's only loss to the Blue Demons came in the 17-14 season of 2006-07 in Rosemont, Ill., 66-58.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun