It’s been a really good month of December if you are DePaul Blue Demons fan. In the four games they have played thus far, Dave Leitao’s team is 3-1 and find themselves with a 7-2 record overall. After blowing a huge lead in the crushing loss against Northwestern two weeks ago, the Blue Demons rebounded with back to back blowout victories. They beat Chicago State by 34 and UIC by 20 in those two games. Granted those are not the most stellar opponents DePaul could have played but there is a positive in them winning the games they are supposed to and doing it comfortably. Their dominance was especially shown against UIC as they got an extra special performance from Max Strus. The sharpshooter went 8 of 16 from three and added 13 rebounds in a 34 point effort. He also had a pretty nasty dunk too.
Oh my Max Strus! Go ‘head big fella. pic.twitter.com/WbUvdLVpyE— Tim Ring (@timringTV) December 15, 2018
The Incarnate Word Cardinals will be the opponents for DePaul tonight. With a 5-7 record, they have had less than an ideal start to the season and are entering this one on a two-game losing streak. In fact, their form is the exact opposite of DePaul’s right now with the Cardinal’s having lost 5 of their last 6 games. Their only win during that stretch came against Trinity University. After that game, they have dropped games to LSU and UIC. Despite the Flames jumping out to a big lead early, the Cardinals battled back and made it a close one late in the second half. But they faded away down the stretch and UIC took advantage in a 63-57 loss. Their record has UIW in the middle of the pack in the Southland standings and this is their last chance to get a nonconference win.
After this game, Incarnate Word don’t play until 2019 when they face off against McNeese. As for DePaul, they host one more nonconference game against Boston College before welcoming Xavier to Chicago to start Big East play.
How to watch, listen, stream
Game Time: 8:30 PM ET
TV: Fox Sports 2
Radio: WIND 560 AM (DePaul) ||
Stream: Fox Sports Go (where streaming is available)
Odds: DePaul enters this game as a 23.5 point favorite (via VegasInsiders.com)
O/U: The O/U opened at 140
Last Time They Met
Wednesday night’s game will be the first matchup ever between the two schools.
3 Things to Watch
Bounce back effort from Femi Olujobi
4 out of the 5 starters in the UIC game scored double digit point totals. The only one who didn’t was Femi Olujobi who finished with 0 points. It was a rough game for the forward who only played 16 minutes in the win. This was the first time in four games in which Olujobi failed to score more than 10 points and hopefully against IW he can bounce back with a better performance.
Forcing the Cardinals to shoot
Looking at the season averages for UIW, it’s not pretty when you look at the 3-point percentages. Only two players on the Cardinals shoot higher than 30% from downtown and if you look at the top five guys who get minutes, they have the following percentages from three: 16, 20, 37.9, 25, 0.
It surely seems like a good idea for DePaul’s offense to pack the paint and go under screens for most of the offensive actions which Incarnate Word runs. The only one to keep an eye on for DePaul is freshman Antoine Smith Jr. who is shooting 39.7% but is only averaging 3 attempts from three per game this season.
Defending Wintrust Arena
Playing well at home is super important for any program. The fan interest in the program keeps growing with each win and no matter who you play, if you have a good record at home you always have a chance. It seems to be this way for DePaul at Wintrust Arena. So far the Blue Demons have yet to lose at home and will look to make it 8 wins in a row if they can get a win against IW. If they can keep this home cooking up against Boston College as well, it certainly sets them up for a chance to knock off some Big East teams when they come visit DePaul.