Well, it took 13 years but the DePaul Blue Demons finally notched another win in their postseason history. Last Wednesday night, DePaul overcame a shaky first half to run away with their first round matchup against Central Michigan to win 100-86. After only being up 4 at half-time the Blue Demons turned on the jets in the second half, scoring 54 points. It was an offensive affair with both teams scoring 40+ points in each half. Central Michigan shot 50% from the field and the Blue Demons matched them by hitting 52.7% of their attempts. DePaul also owned in the paint and on the boards, handily beating CMU in either of those categories. They also forced Central Michigan to turn the ball over 13 times, leading to 23 easy points. Behind the 33 of Max Strus and 20 from Eli Cain, the Blue Demons were able to hold on despite CMU having five guys score in double digits. Now the Blue Demons are one win at home from a semi-final berth in the College Basketball Invitational.
The opponents in this quarterfinal will be the Longwood Lancers who made some history of their own in the CBI as well. They won their first round matchup against Southern Miss 90-68 behind a barrage of three-point shots. Longwood hit a whopping 18 three-pointers as they overwhelmed the Golden Eagles at home. Anytime you shoot 52.9% from three you are sure to have a good night and that’s exactly what happened for Longwood. This was the first postseason win in Longwood’s history as a Division 1 program (via Longwood media guide), which is a very impressive achievement for coach Griff Aldrich. Playing in the Big South, the Lancers had an ok year going 15-16 in the regular season. They didn’t do much in the Big South tournament, losing to Hampton in the first round and capping off a losing streak of four games. But they have turned things around and will be looking to add to an already historic postseason run for the Lancers.
The winner of this game doesn’t exactly know who they will face as the CBI reorganizes its bracket after the quarterfinals. DePaul could face one of these teams later this week: West Virginia, Costal Carolina, South Florida, Utah Valley, Loyola Marymount, Brown.
How to watch, listen, or stream
Game Time: 8 PM ET
TV: NBC Sports Chicago Plus (DePaul)
Radio: WVHL 92.9 (Longwood)
Stream: Fox Sports Go (where streaming is available)
Odds: DePaul enters this game as a 14.5 point favorite (via Oddsshark.com)
Record ATS: DePaul (15-15-1) || Longwood (17-12-1)
O/U: The O/U opened at 149.5 but it’s since shot up to 156 (again via Oddsshark.com)
Last Time They Met
This is another time this season where this will be the first ever meeting between the two schools.
What to Watch For
Balanced scoring from the Lancers
There isn’t really one guy who can score the rock for Longwood. There are three players who average double digits points and they all shoot over 40% from the field. Led by guard Shabooty Phillips, the Lancers move a lot of their offense through him but he has gotten some help. Guys like Jaylon Wilson and JaShaun Smith are also capable scorers for this Longwood team. Despite hitting all those three’s against Southern Miss, Longwood as a team still shoots are 32% from deep. The only main guy who shoots higher than 35% from three is Smith who can burn teams if left open from pick and pop situations. DePaul has to make sure to close out swiftly and to make sure their big men step up when Longwood runs pick and roll.
Cain and Strus Show
DePaul’s two best players saved one of their better performances for the postseason. They combined for 53 points and were the conductors for the DePaul offense. Strus was back to his usual self, shooting a team high 17 attempts and knocking down 10 of them with 7 being three-pointers. Cain was Mr. Everything for the Blue Demons, adding 7 rebounds and 6 assists to his point total to create a very impressive stat line. But Cain did have 7 turnovers and along with Devin Gage, combined for 11 of the 19 that DePaul committed during the game. Taking better care of the ball should be a priority for the Blue Demons against Longwood.