TV, Times, and Lines:
Date: Friday, November 26
Time: 5:00 p.m. EST
Spread: DePaul -5.5
Total: O/U 140.5
The Blue Demons and Norse are set to face off on this post-Thanksgiving Friday afternoon. Both DePaul and Northern Kentucky are coming off of games against Western Illinois, but the results were different. Last Saturday, the Blue Demons beat the Leathernecks in a close game, 84-80. Then, last Monday, the Norse lost to the Leathernecks in a close game, 69-67.
DePaul has excelled in multiple facets of the game to start the season. They are 10th in the nation in rebounding margin with a +13.5, and they are 12th in the nation in scoring with 88.2 points per game. The high scoring from the Blue Demons can be attributed to their ability to get to the line. So far this season, DePaul has made 81 free throws, while their opponents have only attempted 55.
The name to look for while watching this one, will be senior Javon Freeman-Liberty. The Valparaiso transfer has won Big East player of the week in back to back weeks. He had a career high in points last game, with 33 against Western Illinois. The 6’4” guard is an elite playmaker, who can also score with the best of the Big East. Earlier this season, Freeman-Liberty came close to DePaul’s first triple double in program history, totaling 25 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists against Coppin State. JFL has proved he can take over games, and as long as he is on the court, the Blue Demons will always have a chance to win.
Aside from Javon Freeman-Liberty, another guy to look out for in a DePaul uniform this game is sophomore David Jones. At 6’6” he could be perceived as an undersized forward, but his stats will tell you otherwise. Out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Jones has made a huge leap in his second year for the Blue Demons. He has more than tripled his points average and almost quadrupled his rebounding average this season compared to last. The sophomore has flashed his potential numerous times this season, including a 23 point, 17 rebound game against Coppin State, and making 3 threes in the last 4 minutes of the Rutgers game to give the Blue Demons a Gavitt Games win.
As for the Norse, keep an eye on senior Trevon Faulkner. The 6’4” guard has been Northern Kentucky’s leading scorer this year, averaging 13.3 points per game. Despite an OT loss against UNC-Greensboro earlier in the season, Faulkner entered NKU’s 1,000 point club an scored a career-high-tying 28 points, as well as a career high 6 three pointers made. If the Norse want to have a chance in this one, they will need to have a similar workload from their leading scorer.
DePaul has dominated the Horizon League with an all-time record of 65-14, but none of those games were against Northern Kentucky, who has been at the top of the Horizon League with a 73-28 league record since the beginning of the 2016-2017 season. This will be one of DePaul’s toughest challenges yet, but the Blue Demons should come out of game 2 of the Blue Demon Classic with a win.