The DePaul Blue Demons have gone 0-2 in the PK80 Invitational and each game seems like deja vu. In the beginning the Blue Demons start out all right but then by the game ends, they have faltered and fell apart.
It happened against Michigan State in the second half. The fatal flaw reared it’s ugly head in DePaul’s most recent game against Oregon. The Blue Demons seemed primed for an upset with the game tied at 75 and heading to overtime. But it was all for not as they scored just a mere 4 points in the extra frame to lose 89-79 to the Ducks.
It was a tough loss for the Blue Demons and you can chalk it down as a game they could have had. It’s just been that type of season for DePaul so far. The loss dropped them to 1-4 on the year thus far, with the lone win being against Delaware State almost two weeks ago.
Luckily for them, they have one last chance to grab a win in the Invitational.
DePaul will be facing the Portland Pilots in the last game of the PK80 Invitational. They will be entering this contest with a record of 2-3. After an opening game loss against rivals Portland State, they reeled off two straight wins against Walla Walla and Oregon Tech. It served as some good momentum heading into the PK80 Invitational.
But they have suffered the same fate as DePaul, losing in their first two games. Unlike the Blue Demons, however, those two games haven’t even been the close. Against North Carolina and Oklahoma, Portland lost by more than 15 points in both of the contests. So this game will be another test for them.
In a conference like the WCC, with the likes of Gonzaga and St. Mary’s leading the pack, Portland needs to rack up as many wins as it can to gain some steam before heading into conference play.
How to watch, listen, or stream
Game Time: 7 p.m. ET
Radio: WYLL 1160 AM (DePaul) || 910 ESPN-Portland (Portland)
Odds: DePaul enters this game as a 9 point favorite (via Oddsshark.com)
Record ATS: DePaul (2-3) || Portland (2-1)
O/U: The O/U opened at 142.5.
Last Time They Met
Quite surprisingly, this is the sixth time that these two programs will face off against each other. What’s not surprising is that the last time these two teams played, it was all the way back in 1965. DePaul won that night. The Blue Demons are currently the series 5-1 and will be looking for their sixth straight win against the Pilots.
3 Things to Watch For
Stopping Portland’s ball movement
Entering this game, the Pilots are averaging 16 assists per game, and it’s good for 81st in the country. Without a bona fide scorer, Portland has to rely on moving the ball quickly, catching their opponents off guard, and finding easy baskets. This will be a good test for a DePaul defense that will be forced to move all around the court and not try to focus on one specific guy. Something they had to do in their first two games. But if you had to choose a target, it would be Franklin Porter, who is averaging 13 points per game.
More from McCallum
Against Oregon, it was a struggle for Tre’Darius McCallum. He had merely eight points and struggled to score again. It’s been a tough Invitational for him, and hopefully he can pick it up against the Pilots. The Blue Demons will need all the offensive help they can get, and McCallum is one of the key guys who have to step up for them.
Maric becoming an important part of DePaul’s offense
Other than Eli Cain, it was transfer Marin Maric who stepped up big for DePaul on offense. The former Northern Illinois Husky scored 22 points and got to the free throw a lot, going 8-8 from the stripe. Despite grabbing only four rebounds, he had a huge impact for DePaul, and has fully supplanted himself as the top dog in the big man pecking order.
This was the Blue Demons’ first taste of the type of scoring that Maric can bring to the table. He showed this skill at NIU, and it was only a matter of time before he brought it over for Dave Leitao’s team. Let’s see if he can continue this performance and if DePaul will start running some offensive plays through the big man.