Time and Date: Tuesday, January 19 @ 7:00 pm ET
Records: Butler (4-7) | DePaul (2-4)
Rankings: Butler (#92 KenPom) | DePaul (#89 KenPom)
TV Channel: CBS Sports Network
Spread: DePaul (-1.5)
DePaul and Butler may be considered two of the lesser teams in the BIG EAST this year, but both teams have been playing well recently and will clash Tuesday night in Chicago. The Blue Demons, who have missed a whopping eight games due to COVID-related cancellations and postponements are still on the hunt for their first conference win and they have a good opportunity here as they are narrowly favored.
DePaul played relatively close games against Seton Hall and UConn before pummeling Valparaiso on Saturday, prevailing 77-58. Meanwhile, the Butler Bulldogs, who seemed to be reeling after losing to St. John’s, pulled off one of the most stunning upsets of BIG EAST play this season by beating Creighton in overtime their last time out. Valparaiso is having a down year and Creighton was without Marcus Zegarowski, but both DePaul and Butler are happy to grab any momentum they can this year.
As the Bulldogs and Blue Demons square off, the matchup to watch will be in the backcourt where both teams are led by savvy senior point guards. Both lead their teams in scoring and assists. Of particular interest in this matchup will be Aaron Thompson’s elite defense against Charlie Moore’s slick handles and passing. Moore has been a bit turnover prone this year, so his ability to protect the ball and feed teammates will be major factor.
While Butler likely has a slight edge in the point guard matchup, the Bulldogs will have their hands full trying to contain Romeo Weems. The standout DePaul sophomore is coming off a 20-point performance against Valpo, and he is the kind of long, athletic, and versatile threat that often causes trouble for the Dawgs. Against Creighton, Butler was getting torched by a similar athlete in Denzel Mahoney until LaVall Jordan switched Thompson onto him and brought in Myles Wilmoth to provide some length. Jordan will likely employ a similar strategy if Weems comes out hot.
The home team has won each of the last three meetings between these two teams, and DePaul hopes the trend will continue. The Blue Demons are starting on a part of their slate that, barring COVID interference, is one of the easier stretches. They would love to beat the Bulldogs and carry some momentum forward. Meanwhile, Butler hopes to build on its surprising victory over Creighton and show that there is real improvement happening in Indianapolis.