DePaul Redeems In Big East Tourney

Blue Demons prevent further embarrassment by upending Cincinnati

The Big East regular season was a grueling, brutal struggle for the DePaul Blue Demons. Rarely did the Blue Demons fight back. Instead they often laid down, proved mentally weak, sloppy, and so on, and even when the effort was there the skill wasn't. The result: 0-and18. A winless Big East season. It's a blight on the once-proud, if now distant, memory of DePaul basketball.

Today was different. In the first round of the Big East tournament, the Blue Demons did what they hadn't been able to do all year: win a conference game. They topped No. 9-seeded Cincinnati 67-57 in Madison Square Garden amidst a crowd that by all accounts gradually warmed to the team as they neared their victory. The whole scene sounds vaguely condescending, but we have a feeling DePaul fans will take it.

You could forgive the crowd for its underdog enthusiasm, though. After all, DePaul's win marks the first true upset of the major conference tournament season. Those are the games the conference tournament is all about -- the ones that throw the whole conference into the balance, the ones that bolster or destroy tournament resumes, and the ones that miraculously send previously undeserving teams to the Big Dance. That's why it's so much fun.

What of DePaul's tourney chances? Never say never, but, um, you can say never. The 2009 Big East tournament is expanded to all 16 teams, which means the No. 16-seeded Blue Demons now have to win against No. 8 seed Providence, who received a bye today. If they win that game, they will face No. 1-seed Louisville, who will have received two byes. And if by some miracle that happens (it won't), DePaul faces off against Big East heavyweights like UConn, Pittsburgh, Marquette, and so on. It's not going to happen.

For today, though, it's a slight bit of redemption. Seasons don't get much worse than DePaul's 2009 campaign. A win of any sort, even if that win advances the Blue Demons to certain Big East doom, is a welcome one.

Eamonn Brennan is a writer, editor and blogger that thinks the Veteran Committee would give 65% approval to filet mignon. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, FanHouse, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, Follow him on Twitter.

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