TV, Times, and Lines:
Date: Tuesday, December 14
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST
Spread: DePaul -10
Total: O/U 142
On Tuesday night, DePaul will play their second straight game on the road. After starting the season with eight home games, the Blue Demons are in the middle of a three game road trip before heading into conference play. Game 2 features an inner city opponent in the UIC Flames. These two programs have met 13 times prior to this matchup, with DePaul holding an 11-2 record. The last meeting between both parties was two years ago to this day resulting in a 86-65 score in favor of the Blue Demons.
These two Chicago teams are trending towards opposite ends of the spectrum. The Blue Demons are 8-1 and coming off of a monumental win on the road against Louisville, while the Flames are 3-6 and already 0-2 in league play. UIC will be a much lighter opponent for a DePaul team that has faced an AP Top 25 team and a high major team in two of their last three games. On the other end, this will be one of the tougher matchups for a struggling UIC team that has only won 33% of their games to start the season.
In the last couple of games, I said that the main focus should be shooting, but in this one I believe that the focus should be centered around defense and rebounding. After facing a tough opponent, the Blue Demons need to continue to work on taking control of the glass, as well as controlling the defensive side. DePaul slightly outrebounded Louisville 47 to 45 and held them to only 26 points in the second half. These are the efforts that the Blue Demons are going to have to make in order to win conference games, in order to make sure they are not relying on their shooting.
Players to Watch:
David Jones (DePaul): Jones is the highlighted player for everyone going into this game. When the lights were the brightest last Friday night, the sophomore came to play. Besides Jones, the Blue Demons had one of their worst shooting nights of the season, shooting 9-44 (20.5%) from the field and 3-20 (15%) from three. The 6’6” forward scored a career high 33 points on a very efficient 15/22 shooting and carried DePaul to a win. On top of a career scoring night, he posted a team and game high 14 rebounds. Look for the sophomore to score 15+ points Tuesday night.
Javon Freeman-Liberty (DePaul): JFL is coming off of his worst shooting performance of the season against Louisville. He took 15 shots and only made two (13.3%), but still found a way to make an impact, tallying a season-high four steals. Even on his worst night, Freeman-Liberty is always a threat with and on the ball. He has struggled against the good teams that the Blue Demons have played, but that is no worry tonight. Look for the Chicago native to have his 4th double double of the season tonight along with at least five assists.
Kevin Johnson (UIC): In his first season with the Flames after three with Nicholls State, Johnson has made an immediate impact. The 6’0” point guard is averaging a career high 11.6 ppg and is leading the team with a career high 6.3 apg. He has filled the true point guard role for the Flames, leading UIC to be in the top third of assists per game in the country. The senior has been able to flourish in his final season and looks to continue his passing success against a team that gives up 11.6 assists per game. Look for Johnson to have at least nine points and six assists tonight.
This game seems like it should be a walk in the park for DePaul, and it will be. The Blue Demons have beat up on worse teams so far this season including a +15.0 scoring margin. For the people that enjoy some extra action on games, the current line is set at DePaul -10, and I believe that the Blue Demons are going to blow out UIC. In their past couple games against weaker competition, they have won by an average of 28 points. That trend will not stop Tuesday night. Much like the cover image, this game will be a layup. DePaul will take care of business and win by 15 or more points, improving their record to 9-1.