On Sunday night the DePaul Blue Demons will tip off their season. After finishing second to last in the Big East in the 2015-16 season, Dave Leitao’s squad will be hoping for a second year jump rather than a sophomore slump. In his first season back as head coach, Leitao went 9-22 overall with a dreadful in-conference record to top it all off (3-15). Obviously, improvement is needed if DePaul wants to see the same results they had under Leitao’s first stint with the program all the way back in the early 2000s when they were in Conference USA. A win against Robert Morris would be a step in the right direction in what looks like a not-so-difficult out of conference schedule.
Their opponents, the Robert Morris Colonials, already tipped off their season against Penn. They took a 67-50 loss, and were dominated from the opening tip. Like DePaul, Robert Morris had a less than stellar record last season. They went 10-22, and lost in the first round of their conference tournament. Playing against the Blue Demons will be another big test in a solid out of conference schedule for the team out of the Northeast Conference. The Colonials are slated to play teams such as Bucknell, Richmond, and Kansas State later in the season. If they want to be competitive in those games, a strong performance against DePaul is needed.
As for DePaul’s out of conference schedule, they are slated to play Northwestern, Rutgers and a rematch against Drake in the coming games.
How to listen or stream
Game Time: 7 p.m. ET
TV: FS1 (Jeff Levering, Stephen Bardo)
Radio: WYLL 1160 AM (DePaul) || 3WS HD (Robert Morris)
Stream: Fox Sports Go (Where available)
Odds: DePaul opens as a 13-point favorite via OddsShark.
Record ATS: DePaul (0-0) || Robert Morris (0-1)
O/U: The O/U opened at 142.5
All Time Series
This will be the first meeting between the two programs.
3 things to watch for
Good test for the new guys: There are some new faces on this DePaul team. Tre’Darius McCallum and Chris Harrison-Docks are new transfers who are expected to get some significant playing time. McCallum is an expected starter at the three spot while Harrison-Docks will likely play backup point guard minutes. All eyes will be on freshman Devin Gage who struggled in DePaul’s exhibition against Rockhurst. He spent the whole first half chasing around a snarky three-point shooter and was exploited. After starting the second half on the bench, Gage got some playing time but not much. It was an exhibition game and there shouldn’t be much stock to take into this, but it will be interesting to see how much Leitao plays the freshman from Chicago.
Can Robert Morris score the basketball?: Seriously, this is a legitimate question. Although it was only one game, Robert Morris’s offensive stats are not good. They shot 29.3% from the field against Penn and shot even worse from three-point land at 17.6%. Although they scored 50 points against Penn, playing like that against DePaul won’t fly. The main man for Robert Morris is guard Isaiah Still. The sophomore guard scored a team-high 15 points against Penn and grabbed six rebounds. But he had to take 17 shots just to get to the 15 points, so efficiency is an issue with him. He played 29 minutes against Penn and is slated for another big night against the Blue Demons.
It all starts here for DePaul: Like mentioned earlier, DePaul doesn’t have that hard of an out of conference schedule to begin the season. There isn’t exactly a team that screams “DANGER” to this Blue Demons team early on. It does get harder in December 10th when they play Temple and Northwestern, so DePaul needs to get as many wins and grab as much momentum as they can before they begin the uphill climb in conference play.