It’s that time.
College basketball season is upon us, and so is a era of new for DePaul. A new season, a new team filled with impact transfer players, and a new stadium. Yep that’s right, this will be the DePaul Blue Demons first regular season game in their brand new Wintrust Arena.
The Blue Demons have already been in action this season, beating IU-Northwest 121-65 in an exhibition. It was a cruise for the Blue Demons as they opened up a lead as much as 30 points in the first half and never looked back. Max Strus led the way with 22 points and Dave Leitao was able to be flexible with his lineups in the exhibition.
But the real test begins when they face one of the top teams in the country in their new digs.
DePaul will welcome the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for their season opener. ND comes into this matchup ranked as the 14th-ranked team in the country and will be looking to prove itself this season in a tough conference in the ACC. Mike Brey and his squad will be looking to establish itself as another threat to contend with along with the likes of Duke and North Carolina this season.
Unlike DePaul, Notre Dame has played three exhibition games since October 20. Those three games went the exact same way you would expect them to be: Blowouts. All of them. Beating Holy Cross, Bethel, and Cardinal Stritch respectively, the Fighting Irish never faltered as they crushed each of their opponents.
These were dominant performances by a team that is surely to give DePaul trouble on opening day.
How to Stream, Watch, or Listen
Time: 4 PM ET
TV: Fox Sports 1
Radio: The Score WSCR 670 AM (DePaul) || (Notre Dame) N/A
Stream: Fox Sports Go
Odds: Notre Dame enters this game as a 8.5 point favorite (via Oddsshark.com)
Record ATS: DePaul (15-17 last season)|| Notre Dame (18-11-1 last season)
O/U: The O/U opens at 149
Last time they met
It’s been a while since these two teams have met. The last time they played was in 2013, when Notre Dame was still in the Big East. This will be the 105th meeting between the two programs with the Fighting Irish leading the series 60-44. They are also coming into this matchup with a nine game winning streak in this series.
3 things to watch for
Point guard battle
With the departure of Billy Garrett Jr. it’s no secret DePaul is going to have questions about it’s point guard depth heading into this season. It doesn’t make it any better they are going to face one of the best point guards in Matt Farrell. He was one of ND’s best players last season, averaging 14.1 points on 44.8 percent shooting while also dishing out 5.4 assists per game.
This will be a huge test for Eli Cain, who is expected to be the starting point guard for the Blue Demons. If he can at least try and slow down Farrell’s impact in this game, DePaul has a chance. He won’t stop Farrell, he can only hope to slow him down.
Can the transfers make an impact for DePaul?
There are a lot of new faces on this DePaul and there is some hope they will be able to help Eli Cain in terms of scoring production which is sorely needed. Strus and new big man Marin Maric will be able to help.
Maric was a top scorer at NIU and gives DePaul some post presence they can rely on. Strus will give them a threat from deep and hopefully can help a bench unit which was killed anytime it went on the court last season. He dropped 22 against IU-Northwest and hopefully for DePaul, can give them another spark.
Good home performance for DePaul
In all honesty, DePaul has a slim chance of winning and it would be a huge upset if they did. But there are numerous outcomes where the Blue Demons walk away with their heads held high. This is the first game in their new stadium against a Top 15 opponent. If the Blue Demons are able to keep this game close and entertaining, it would be a good outcome for the program win or lose. It would give them some optimism heading into another tough season in the Big East.