Coach Meyer Oliver Purnell Improving DePaul

With Ron Meyer


Oliver Purnell is a man I wanted to pay close attention to this season.

The former head coach of Clemson and current head coach of DePaul has always shown very clear strengths and weaknesses.

  • His teams played their best basketball when expectations were low.
  • His teams played their worst basketball when expectations were high.

Clemson loved that he always seemed to enter ACC play on a roll...and loved that he often found ways to score upsets against conference powers like Duke and North Carolina. But, when it got to crunch time in the postseason, you could usually count on Purnell and Clemson to underachieve. Their lack of fundamentals mattered much more in possession-by-possession games with a lot of stake. Their ability to force turnovers and score dunks off them disappeared when they ran into opponents who knew how to handle the ball.

Ultimately, this cost him his job at Clemson because the team was school was tired of getting embarrassed in March.

DePaul had become a wasteland in college basketball after the Ray Meyer era. They fell from Big Dance caliber to NIT caliber under his son. They fell completely off the map in subsequent years. To them, Purnell seemed like the perfect juice to get the program on track. There were no expectations!

I think they were right. And, I've been monitoring developments very closely. If you've been devoting most of your attention to football lately...or all of your attention to football and TV basketball, you may be completely unaware of DePaul's improved level of play.

I'm not saying they're suddenly great, or a serious contender or anything. They're no longer a nightly doormat, which is enough to make money against Vegas spreads.

The last six games:
DePaul (-1.5) beat Wisconsin-Milwaukee 61-47
DePaul (+3.5) beat Loyola-Chicago 81-74
DePaul (-3) beat Florida Atlantic 71-62
DePaul (+16.5) lost at Cincinnati 60-76
DePaul (+22) lost at Georgetown 75-86
DePaul (+10.5) lost to West Virginia 65-67

Wisconsin-Milwaukee recently beat Butler by more than 20 points. Cincinnati was undefeated at the time of that game. You've already seen a lot of Georgetown and West Virginia on TV this year. In just a couple of months, Purnell has turned DePaul into a team that can put a scare into big name opponents at home, and can hang tough for long stretches on the road against powers.

Vegas is still pricing them like a doormat, given that +22 spread at Georgetown, and that +10.5 spread at home vs. West Virginia.

The Big East is a tough conference. And, maybe DePaul won't have the horses to stay competitive through a long grueling slate. RIGHT NOW, they're worth some thought until the line catches up thanks to this high impact coaching change.

Here's there upcoming schedule:
Wednesday: vs. Seton Hall
Saturday: vs. Connecticut
1/18: at Marquette
1/22: vs. Pittsburgh
1/27: at South Florida

DePaul has lost 16 straight Big East games heading into that stretch. Let's see if they can end that streak with a breakthrough victory sometime soon. Even if they can't, there's a shot we'll see the Blue Demons as a very live dog quite a few times between now and the end of February.

As I've emphasized to you often in the past, coaches have strengths and weaknesses. In the right situations, even guys with poor "clutch" reputations can be just what a program needed.

How has your basketball season been going so far? Are you struggling because you're making Las Vegas bets before you're really up to speed on the new season? Let me help. My experience as a head football coach has shown me the fundamentals that win in ALL sports. I showed that to you last year on these pages during March Madness and the NBA playoffs in basketball...and all summer long in the bases. Football may be winding down...but my clients will be making MORE money because the basketball schedules are so much bigger than football schedules!

You can try out my game day releases right here at the website with your credit card. Log in a few hours before the first games start. Or, sign up for longer term service at discounted rates. If you have any questions, call the office at 1-877-540-8787.

DePaul has the right man in charge based on their current needs in my view. Isn't it time YOU put the right COACH IN YOUR CORNER?!


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