After starting off the season 1-3, the DePaul Blue Demons have reeled off three straight wins and looked to have straightened themselves out after a rough start to the season. Currently sitting at the bottom of the BIG EAST standings, DePaul still has a lot of work to do before they are even considered to be contenders in this conference but a three-game winning streak is a nice boost for a team undergoing a change in complexion.
Before games against Stanford and in-state rival Northwestern next week, the Blue Demons will be taking on the Drake Bulldogs in the Knapp Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Drake currently has a record of 4-4, good enough for fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference at the moment prior to conference play. They most recently lost to Bowling Green 75-63 this past Saturday and had their two-game winning streak snapped.
Drake has a tough schedule coming up as well as they take on the likes of Nevada in the MWC/MVC Challenge and Iowa before going into conference play. Intriguingly enough, DePaul will be the first BIG EAST opponent to visit the Knapp Center since 1980. To say the least, this will be an interesting game to watch.
How to listen or stream
Game Time : 8 p.m. ET
TV: MediaCom MC22 (Local TV)
Online Streaming: ESPN3
Odds: DePaul opened as 2-point favorites via OddsShark. They can be had as 1- or 1.5-point favorites elsewhere, and there's also pick'ems at BetOnline and SPORTS Betting.
Records ATS: Drake (3-3) || DePaul (2-4)
O/U: The O/U opened at 139.5.
3 things to watch
1. Mr. Efficient. Drake guard Reed Timmer has had a great year for the Bulldogs so far. Timmer leads the Bulldogs in scoring with 17.9 points while averaging 33.3 minutes per game. He also is shooting a staggering 52.6 percent from the field. He will be force for the Blue Demons defense to stop as Timmer has the ability to take over games with his scoring ability. DePaul has to be careful not to let Timmer get going. He only scored 13 against Bowling Green and will be looking to improve against DePaul. The Blue Demons have not really faced hard competition during their three-game winning streak, so the sophomore guard from New Berlin, Wisconsin will be a good measuring stick for this DePaul defense.
2. Deep Threat: In addition to having a good scoring guard in Timmer, Drake can shoot the ball from deep. The Bulldogs are 17th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage, as they have shot 41.6 percent from beyond the arc this year. They made only 6-of-25 attempts in their last game, but the stats show that Drake possibly had an off night. Many of Drake's players are not afraid to step out and try to knock down a three. The 3-pointer is the great equalizer and it can always help a team stay in a game.
3. Battle on the boards: This game will feature two teams who are pretty much equals stats wise when it comes to rebounding. DePaul averages around 35.3 rebounds per game, while Drake come in averaging 35.0 per game. While those numbers are not outstanding, it will matter in this game. C.J. Rivers is the leading rebounder for Drake while Tommy Hamilton IV continues to be a force for the Blue Demons on the glass. For DePaul, they have to minimize the second chances Drake has as they have a good shooting team and a good shooting scorer. Which ever team is able to control the glass in this game will most likely win.