DePaul looks to continue its strong start to the season as it hits the road for the first time, after going 7-1 at home to kick off the year. The Blue Demons will travel to Louisville on Friday to take on the 6-2 Cardinals. The two teams were conference rivals, first in Conference USA, later in the Big East, until 2013. Keep reading to analyze the NCAAB odds and cash out at the best online sportsbooks. Let’s begin.
DePaul Blue Demons vs. Louisville Cardinals
Friday, December 10, 2021 – 08:00 PM EST at KFC Yum! Center
DePaul looks to continue its strong start to the season as it hits the road for the first time. The Blue Demons opened with eight straight home games and head to Louisville on Friday night at 7-1 on the year. A loss to Loyola, Chicago is the only blemish on DePaul’s resume so far.
The 6-2 Cardinals have put things together after getting surprised by Furman at home in the second game of the season. Louisville has won five of six since, including wins over Maryland, Mississippi State, and at NC State. The two teams were conference rivals for two decades until 2013, first in Conference USA, then in the Big East.
Impressive but Untested
DePaul is averaging 85.3 ppg, which gives the Blue Demons the tenth most productive offense in Division I. DePaul has done it against a less than impressive slate of opponents, however. The Blue Demons have faced two teams in the top 150 of KenPom rankings—losing to Loyola and beating No. 99 Rutgers. The other wins have come against two teams ranked below 300 and another three ranked below 200.
The Blue Demons are No. 30 in the country in blocked shots per game, No. 33 in rebounding margin, and No. 29 in field goal percentage. DePaul’s inside attack is keyed by a pair of 6-foot-10 bigs in junior Nick Ongenda and senior Yor Anei, as well as 6-foot-8 Brandon Johnson.
DePaul guard Javon Freeman-Liberty leads the way with 21.8 ppg, however. He also leads DePaul in rebounds, assists, and steals and has already won conference player of the week honors twice this season. He’s the team’s only reliable weapon from the three-point line.
“Javon is a guy that can take over games,” said Louisville coach Chris Mack. “They've been in some tight games with, six, eight minutes left in the game. He virtually scores almost every point down the stretch without being selfish. He just gets it going.”
Looking to Continue Dominance
Louisville has won its last 10 against Rutgers and 23 of the last 25 games against the Blue Demons. To continue that streak, the Cardinals will need to see a more consistent play from their stars. Louisville plays a deep rotation of players, and usually seems to be someone to step up, but coach Chris Mack would like to see his top players be more dependable from night tonight.
Since a 15-point outing against Mississippi State, Sam Williamson has scored a total of four points in three games as he’s struggled with foul trouble. “He just has to play better,” Mack said. “We haven’t lost faith in Sam, but he does have to play better for us to be a complete team.”
Mack said he has “about four or five” players out of the nine or 10 that play, where he knows what he’s going to get from them night to night. Scoring leader Noah Locke went 0-for-7 from the field against Michigan State. Jae’Lyn Withers has scored 36 points in three games, and 20 in the other five.
Louisville’s individual players have been up and down this year, but the Cardinals have done well against a schedule that includes four straight power conference teams (with a 3-1 record against them). DePaul will be playing its first road game and one of the toughest opponents the Blue Demons have faced this season.
Louisville also ranks in the top 25 in scoring and 2-point shooting defense, so the Cardinals should be able to slow down DePaul’s inside attack. For your college basketball picks, look for the Cardinals to extend the streak of dominance against DePaul and post another big win.
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