Despite a grueling opening week to the season, the DePaul Blue Demons haven’t faltered yet. The team is 3-0 after playing three games in four days. Tim Anderson stepped in for the suspended Dave Leitao and led the Blue Demons to a perfect record so far this season.
DePaul faced some adversity in their game on Friday against the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights. It was a much closer game than some expected, especially in the first half when FDU had the Blue Demons on their toes. It was only a six-point game at halftime, but DePaul took control in the second half. They shot 38.9 percent from deep and forced 21 turnovers from the Knights in what ended up being a 70-59 victory.
Once again, it was Charlie Moore who led the team in scoring with 27 points and four assists. Paul Reed continued his great start to the season with another double double of 12 points and 11 rebounds. Jaylen Butz added 13 and Markese Jacobs scored nine as well. While it’s good to be undefeated and winning games in which you are heavily favored, the Blue Demons are set to face their toughest test of the season so far. It being on the road doesn’t make it any easier for them either.
The Iowa Hawkeyes will be the opponent for DePaul in the Gavitt Games opener. Fran McCaffrey’s team has only played one game so it’s really hard to gage just how good the team is with a limited sample size. But in their matchup against SIU Edwardsville, the Hawkeyes looked good. They shot 46.4 percent from the field and racked up 17 assists on 26 made baskets. The Hawkeyes were slinging the ball around and it was a solid victory to begin the season.
Iowa has been a solid program under McCaffrey for nearly the past decade. They’ve made the NCAA Tournament four times in the past six years. Last season they finished 23-12 on the season, good enough for a 10th seed in the South Region of last years tournament. There are still returning production from that team including big man Luke Garza and star guard Joe Wieskamp.
This is still a dangerous Hawkeye squad and they should be favorites in this game. However, that doesn’t mean the Blue Demons are going to get blown out. The Blue Demons have shown they have some scoring punch to them and won’t back down easily. This is going to be a fun game.
After this, DePaul goes back to Wintrust to play Cornell before traveling east to face Boston College. While Iowa will continue their five game home stretch with matchups against Oral Roberts and North Florida.
How to watch, listen, and stream
Game Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV: Fox Sports 1
Radio: WYLL 1160 AM (DePaul) || Hawkeye Radio Network & XM 372 (Iowa)
Stream: Fox Sports Go (where streaming is available)
Odds: Iowa entered this game as a 9 point favorite but the line has since moved up to 9.5 (via OddsShark)
Record ATS: DePaul (0-3) || Hawkeyes (1-0)
O/U: The O/U for this one is at 147
By the Numbers
Iowa currently sits 41st in the KenPom rankings with an AdjustedEM score of +15.76. Their offense has been exceptional this season and their Adjusted Offensive Efficiency is 4th highest in the country. Their defense has struggled a bit though and is back at 94th.
DePaul at the moment is at 77th in the rankings. They are almost like the opposite of Iowa in which their defensive metrics perform way better than their offense. The Blue Demons rank outside the top 100 in offense, sitting at 106th while their defense is much better at 54th.
Last Time They Met
This will only be the fourth ever all time meeting between DePaul and Iowa. It will also be the first time they are playing since 1995. The Hawkeyes have a 2-1 series lead in this matchup.
What to watch for
Charlie Moore is the leader of the offense
It’s no secret that Charlie Moore has been DePaul’s best player to start this season. The Kansas transfer has scored in double digits in every game so far and had his most complete performance last Friday. It’s clear he’s going to be the main option on offense. Nobody knows if he’s going to be a workhorse like how Max Strus was for the Blue Demons but Moore will give them scoring pop from the guard spot. He also gets his teammates involved. Moore has totaled 15 assists in his first three games as a DePaul player and it helps the offense when the ball is moving. Expect Iowa to hone in on Moore and lets see if the other DePaul players can get the rock in positions where they can attack the basket or get up smart shots.
Reed and Butz controlling the battle of the boards
The front court duo of Reed and Butz will have the spotlight on them as well in this game. Garza is a force in the middle for Iowa and can move bodies to grab rebounds. It will be up to them to limit Garza’s play on the boards. He had 12 in Iowa’s last game and the closest teammate was at five rebounds. If DePaul wants to stay in this game, they need to keep the game in front of them and not let things go awry if the shots don’t start falling. This means limiting those killer second chance opportunities.
This will be the first true road game of the season for DePaul. So far they have taken care of business at Wintrust Arena but playing on the road is a challenge. Especially when it is a Big Ten team. It’s the Gavitt Games and the Carver-Hawkeye Arena will be rocking. It’s important for DePaul to get off to a good start and make sure the crowd doesn’t affect them.