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2018 Gavitt Games Preview: DePaul vs. Penn State, how to watch, listen, odds and more

It’s the first test of the season for DePaul.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at DePaul Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a decent start to the 2018-19 season for the DePaul Blue Demons. They are right now 2-0 and have had two easy wins over the likes of Bethune-Cookman and Morgan State. Both of the wins were double digit wins and it’s important for DePaul to get those. After dropping 20+ in their game against BCU, Max Strus stepped up to the plate once again for DePaul offensively. He dropped 25 points while adding 9 rebounds too. Eli Cain rebounded from a tough season opener, scoring 21 points with 8 rebounds and 6 assists.

These are games they are supposed to win and they are doing it with ease. There is no late game drama or extra stress needed. For a young team, it’s always nice to have an easy transition into season, especially in non-conference play. Now, DePaul has to participate in the Gavitt Games, and welcome their toughest opponent yet to Wintrust Arena.

The Penn State Nittany Lions will be the Big Ten opponent walking into Chicago for tonight’s matchup. Penn State is also 2-0 heading into this game. They have gotten double-digit wins against both Jacksonville State and North Florida to begin the year. After winning the NIT last season, the Nittany Lions will look for more of the same in 2018-19. It was really good for them to win a tournament at the end of the year, but they need to build on it.

Penn State is hoping the NIT run can spark something for this team and not just be an anomaly in their history. Just like DePaul, they have taken care of business against teams they are suppose to cruise against.

How to watch, listen, or stream

Game Time: 8 p.m. ET

TV: Fox Sports 1

Radio: WIND 560 AM (DePaul) ||

Stream: Fox Sports Go (where streaming is available)

Gamblin’ Odds

Odds: Penn State enters this game as a 2-point favorite

Record ATS: DePaul (2-0) || Penn State (1-1)

O/U: The over/under for this game is at 142.

Last Time They Met

This will be the seventh meeting between the two programs. DePaul leads the all time series 7-1. However the last time they met in 2015, it was the Nittany Lions who walked away the victors 68-62.

3 Things to Watch

Can DePaul stop Lamar Stevens?

The leading scorer for Penn State in this young season has been forward Lamar Stevens. He’s dropped 20+ points so far and nearly had back to back double-doubles in Penn State’s first two games. Stevens has been super efficient from the field, shooting 50% from the field against Jacksonville State. DePaul is really going to have to hone in on Stevens if they want to win this game.

He can do it all for Penn State. Stevens will also be a problem for DePaul’s rotation as he is really good at drawing contact (15 FTA attempts so far this season). The Blue Demons need to try and get the ball out of Stevens’ hands and force other guys to beat them. If not he can easily drop a double double on them.

Continued performance from Devin Gage

After scoring only four points in their first game, Devin Gage had a much better performance against Morgan State. Not only did he have 13 points on the night but he did a really good job distributing the ball around with nine assists. We need to see more of this from Gage as DePaul’s point guard production was a big question heading into the season. Strus and Cain can’t always be the ones with the ball in their hands creating shots.

They need to have some easy baskets and it can come from Gage. A dream scenario for DePaul would be a more distributed offense but it likely won’t be the case, especially against teams like Penn State. But Gage can be even more active offensively by find his teammates in open spots and forcing the Nittany Lion defense to also have to worry about him too.

Bench rotation for DePaul

We knew a lot about the starters for the DePaul while the bench was more of an enigma. There were a lot of new guys and minutes aren’t that easy to distribute. The two opening games both featured blowouts and it can mess up the main rotation in which Dave Leitao wants to play with. However in games which are going to be close (like this one should be), we will have our first real crack at DePaul’s rotation. The two guys who should be watched in terms of minutes are Femi Olujobi, Flynn Cameron, and Lyrik Shreiner. Let’s see how many minutes these guys play tonight, especially the latter two.