ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Oh, Stats LLC. You're so polite:
Syracuse leads the nation in field-goal percentage. DePaul ranks last in that department not only in the Big East, but also among teams that hail from major conferences. What appears to be a major mismatch is on tap Saturday at Allstate Arena when the fourth-ranked Orange try to win their eighth straight as they meet the Blue Demons.
Let me reword that slightly less carefully: Syracuse is one of the elite teams in the country, one or five or six capable of winning the NCAA tournament in two months, and DePaul is ... not. The Blue Demons are less an attraction here than a sideshow; the vibe in Allstate has the same feel as the open practices at NCAA regionals. "Oh, that's Wes Johnson. There's Rautins! Let's watch him shoot." Everyone is here to see the Cuse.
The major characters on hand should be obvious: There's Johnson and Andy Rautins and Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine and on down the line. I'll be interested in watching forward Arinze Onuaku, who just so happens to be the Syracuse career leader in field goal percentage. (Who knew?) Onuaku might be the key to Syracuse's NCAA chances -- he's a big man who can bang with the Cole Aldriches and Dexter Pittmans of the world. A matchup with DePaul's 6-foot-11 center Mac Koshwal should be the best watch of the game.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter for live updates on this game and others throughout the day, and as always, check back later for some halftime thoughts and postgame up close with the Cuse.