After being handled by a very solid Northwestern team last week, the DePaul Blue Demons got back on the winning track against Lamar. Unlike most games this year, DePaul started off the game strong and built a big lead. They were able to maintain a solid advantage thanks to the offensive contributions by the regulars, in Eli Cain and Billy Garrett Jr. along with R.J. Curington who brought a spark off the bench with 11 points. The win brought DePaul to a record of 5-2 with both of their losses coming against Big Ten opponents (Rutgers and Northwestern). It was very good to see DePaul bounce back the way they did, and have some momentum heading into a game against a very solid opponent from the American in the Miami HoopHall Invitational. After this game, DePaul has games against UIC, Chicago State, and Southeast Missouri State before facing off against Wyoming.
DePaul’s opponent in the Invitational is the Temple Owls, who currently have a 6-3 record and most recently had their winning streak snapped. Before they were barely beaten by George Washington 66-63, Temple had a five-game winning streak with quality wins over ranked opponents in West Virginia and Florida State along with a very good road win over St.Joe’s. After starting the season 1-2, the Owls have bounced back in a big way and look to make the tournament again despite being in a very competitive conference. Coach Fran Dunphy always has his players playing hard and they will be a tough out for any team they face. The loss to George Washington really hurt the Owls as they saw GW hit a go-ahead three with eight seconds left. They also fell out of ESPN Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology. But it is very early in the year and a lot of things will change. After this game, Temple will travel to take on the best team in the country in Villanova then are set to play NJIT and Yale in their last two nonconference games before conference play starts.
How to watch, listen, or stream
Game Time: 11:30 a.m. ET
TV: ESPNU (Allen Bestwick, Tim Welsh)
Radio: WSCR 670 AM (DePaul) || 12010 AM WPHT (Temple)
Odds: Temple enters this game as a 7-point favorite via OddsShark.com
Record ATS: DePaul (3-4) || Temple (6-2)
O/U: The over/under is set at 143
DePaul and Temple have played each other five times, with the Owls having a 3-2 all-time lead. But, this is the first time both programs are playing each other in 15 years.
Three things to watch for
Which 19 points per game scorer will step up?
Both Temple and DePaul have their top scorer scoring about 19 points per game this season. DePaul’s Eli Cain checks in slightly higher at 19.4, but that doesn’t mean Temple’s Obi Enechionyia can’t score just as well. The forward has been a big boost for the Owls and has stepped up in key wins, like when he dropped 22 in the Owls win over WVU. He is a very efficient scorer, shooting just under 48% from the field and can certainly knock down the three-point shot where he has shown to be deadly. If he can keep shooting like his averages suggest, especially from deep (47.3% from three), DePaul will be in trouble. But Eli Cain can certainly match him in scoring and that has to be the hope for DePaul.
Temple’s Ball Movement
Temple averages 15.9 assists per game, good enough for 61st in the country. By moving the ball around, the Owls are able to get great shots for their big playmakers and it is a good reason why they have an AdjustedOffense Rating of 107.5, good for 79th in the country according to KenPom. For a DePaul defense that gives up 68.4 points per game, stopping Temple from moving the ball around and forcing them to try and beat the Blue Demons one-on-one should be the key in this matchup.
Battle on the Boards
Both teams come into this game averaging a little over 35 rebounds per game, with Temple having the edge at 35.8 over DePaul’s 35.3. Both are similar in terms of that both have a very balanced group of rebounders instead of one guy controlling the glass. It will be a team effort on both sides.