After a loss to Buffalo two Sundays ago ruined the DePaul Blue Demons perfect start to the season, they had a chance to get back on track against another Illinois school. Facing the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Flames, the Blue Demons had a strong second half to close out their opponents. They scored 52 points in the second half to finish off their Horizon League opposition in a 86-65 victory. It was a tight game at halftime with the Blue Demons only up by nine but things changed after halftime. DePaul was extremely efficient from the field, shooting 52% from the field. They had a trio of guys score in double digits, led by Charlie Moore who dropped a game high 26 points along with five assists. Paul Reed, who is looking more and more like an NBA prospect with each passing game, dropped a double double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Jalen Coleman-Lands added 11 while both Darious Hall and Romeo Weems scored 9 each. The win lifted the Blue Demons to a record of 10-1, which is the most in the Big East. It was a historic win as per the Blue Demons game guide, this was the first time since the 1999-00 season in which they have won ten games before January 1st.
They also improve to 7-1 at Winstrust Arena this season. Now they face another Horizon League opponent before their final non-conference game against Northwestern this weekend.
The Cleveland State Vikings will be hoping to break a losing streak as they welcome DePaul to Wolstein Center. They have lost their last three games with all of them coming against MAC opponents. In their most recent game, they couldn’t overcome a 16-point first half deficit as Bowling Green beat them 72-58. The Vikings only had one scorer in double digits and their offense has picked up a worrying trend. Since the season started, Cleveland State’s has only scored more than 70 points just twice. Against a solid DePaul defense, the Vikings will need to come up with a monster effort on the offensive end to make this a game. Cleveland State currently sits in the middle of the pack of the Horizon League standings. They have one more non-conference game as well, taking on East Tennessee State before starting conference play against UIC.
How to watch, listen, or stream
Game Time: 7PM ET
Radio: WIND (560 AM)
Stream: Fox Sports Go (where streaming is available)
Odds: DePaul opened as a 16.5 point favorite in this game (via Oddsshark.com) but it has since dropped to (-16) for the Blue Demons.
Record ATS: DePaul (7-4) || Cleveland State (4-6)
O/U: The over/under opened at 134.5 but it has jumped up to 135.5 at some places.
You can view the full odds here.
Last Time They Met
Tonight’s matchup will be the third all-time between the two schools. They played last season for the first time in nearly 25 years (first ever meeting in 1985) and it resulted in a Blue Demons victory. The 83-73 win evened up the all-time series at 1.
By the Numbers
According to the KenPom rankings, DePaul is 60th in the country with a 104.3 adjusted offensive efficiency rating (88th overall) and a 91.6 adjusted defensive efficiency rating (41st overall)
Meanwhile Cleveland State is 320th in the rankings with an adjusted offensive efficiency of 88.3 (341st) and an adjusted defensive efficiency rating of 102.3 (214th)
3 Things to Watch For
Battle on the boards
Cleveland State as team averages 35 rebounds per game and they will have their hands full against DePaul. Despite getting out rebounded against UIC, DePaul has a strong duo on the boards in Reed and Jaylen Butz. The duo averages 17.2 rebounds by themselves and will give the Vikings fits. If DePaul is as good on the glass as they have been in past and what their size dictates, they will be able to have a solid handle on this game.
Stopping Algevon Eichelberger
The Vikings best player so far in terms of scoring has been forward Algevon Eichelberger. He currently leads the team in points per game (12.5) and rebounds per game (7.9). Against Bowling Green he only scored eight points and the offense suffered because of it. He’s going to be matched up against a strong DePaul front court so he will have his hands full trying to lead the Vikings on offense.
Taking care of business
There are two games before Big East play begins and the one talking point with DePaul for the past couple of seasons is the momentum before conference play. Well they officially have that said momentum and it’s at the highest it’s been in a long long time. The Northwestern game will be another test but the Blue Demons have to be wary and take care of business on the road. There is a potential this could turn out to be a trap game but I don’t think it will be.