Taking care of business is the sign of any decent team in college basketball. Especially if you are a heavy favorite to win. That was the case for the DePaul Blue Demons as they went into their matchup against Incarnate Word Cardinals earlier this week.
Things turned out to be a lot more difficult however for Dave Leitao’s team than expected. The Cardinals played pretty well offensively and even caught fire from downtown in this game, going 14-for-25. The score was 42-38 in favor of DePaul at halftime and things were looking a bit nervy. Trying to avoid the massive upset the Blue Demons bounced back with a strong defensive second half, holding Incarnate Word to 37 percent shooting.
It was a big drop from the 52 percent we saw from them in the first half. DePaul didn’t really pull away from the Cardinals, but they did just enough to get the 81-71 win at Wintrust Arena. The victory improved their record to 8-2 and gave them their third win in a row. It’s been a good bounce back for DePaul since their collapse at Northwestern and they will look to end their non-conference slate on a positive note.
The Boston College Eagles will be the final nonconference opponent DePaul faces this season. They have the same record as the Blue Demons at 8-2, and will be looking for their third win a row. After their game against the Texas A&M Aggies got canceled, BC racked up two quick wins in a row against the Columbia Lions and Fairfield Stags. Neither of those wins were blowouts, but they were victories nonetheless. This will be the second Big East team Boston College has faced this season. The Eagles welcomed the Providence Friars to their house a few weeks ago, and lost 100-95, so they will be looking for a better performance against DePaul.
In a stacked conference like the ACC, BC is going to have the same approach as the Blue Demons will: Rack up as many wins as possible in the first few months, and hope for the best in conference play. This will be a good test for both sides.
How to watch, listen, or stream
Game Time: 3:30 PM ET
Radio: WSCR 670 AM (DePaul) || WEEI 850 (Boston College)
Stream: Fox Sports Go (where streaming is available)
Odds: DePaul opens this game as a 4.5 point favorite (via Oddsshark.com)
Record ATS: DePaul (4-5-1) || Boston College (4-6)
O/U: The over/under opened at 149
Last Time They Met
This will only be the third time these two programs have met and the first time in the regular season since 1949-50. The last time these two programs met was in the 1982 NCAA Tournament where BC defeated the Blue Demons 82-75.
3 Things to Watch
Eli Cain stepping up again
After struggling for a bit earlier in the year, Eli Cain has bounced back with some solid performances as of late. The game against Incarnate Word saw Cain drop a team-high 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting with four of them coming from deep. He played less of a facilitator role (only one assist) against the Cardinals and took some of the offensive burden away from Max Strus, who chipped in 18 points of his own. If DePaul wants to beat BC, they are not only going to need Strus to continue his good offensive start to the season, but Cain as well.
Bigger effort from the bench
Although DePaul does have a top heavy rotation, it would still be a boost if they were to get consistent bench production. The Blue Demons only got eight points off the bench from Incarnate Word, and all of them came from Jaylen Butz . We don’t know exactly how Leitao is going to use his subs for the remaining year, especially with Big East play coming up. Questions will be surrounding the production of guys like Lyrik Shreiner, who had 14 minutes of action against Incarnate Word. If DePaul can find a spark in their subs, it could go a long way in improving this team.
Stopping the guards of BC
Boston College’s two leading scorers have came from their backcourt duo of Ky Bowman and Wynston Tabbs. Both are scoring over 15 points per game, and are doing so by shooting better than 40 percent from the field. They will be the two guys who can cut through the DePaul defense if the Blue Demons are not careful. Tabbs is a threat from deep as well, shooting 37.5 percent on the season and is averaging 4.0 attempts per game from there. Devin Gage and Cain will have their hands full on the defensive end.