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DePaul hosts Xavier to open Big East play

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It’s finally here!

NCAA Basketball: DePaul at Villanova Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve finally reached Big East play! After six weeks where we learned next to nothing about any team in the conference, the Xavier Musketeers (8-5) head to Chicago to take on the DePaul Blue Demons (8-3) at Wintrust Arena Saturday afternoon.

How to watch or stream

Time: 2 p.m. ET

TV: FS1

Streaming: FOX Sports Go

Odds: DePaul is currently a one-point favorite. The over/under sits at 144.

[via OddsShark]


Preview

The Xavier Musketeers head into Big East play with perhaps more question marks than any other team in the Big East. Replacing Trevon Bluiett, JP Macura, and Kerem Kanter has predictably been a tough task, and it hasn’t gone particularly well for Xavier. Offensively, the Musketeers have only been slightly worse than last season. Defensively, though, the difference is night and day. Perhaps more alarmingly is that all five of Xavier’s losses have been against KenPom top 100 teams. They’re getting wins against teams they should be getting wins against, but are struggling to get key wins that could help them in the long run.

Four Musketeers are averaging ten or more points per game, as Quentin Goodin leads the way with 14.3 per game, Naji Marshall comes in next at 12.5, followed by Paul Scruggs and Tyrique Jones at 11.9 and 10.4 points per game, respectively. Xavier had many weapons for DePaul to key in on if the Blue Demons want to start Big East play 1-0.

On the other side of the floor, DePaul is led by Max Strus’ 19.7 points per game. The Blue Demons also have options on offense, with Eli Cain (14.2 PPG), Femi Olujobi (10.7 PPG) and Devin Gage (10.1 PPG).

DePaul’s biggest issue this season has been mental lapses and errors in consistency, as they saw big second half leads disappear in losses to Northwestern and Boston College to sour their record from a potential 10-1 to the current 8-3. The Blue Demons need to be sharp and not beat themselves.