DePaul and Northwestern renew their local rivalry Saturday afternoon at Allstate Arena. The last time these teams met in 2013, the Blue Demons knocked off the Wildcats at the buzzer at Welsh-Ryan Arena. They lead the all-time series 20-10.
What you should know about Northwestern (9-1, No. 59 KenPom):
With Loyola struggling, Northwestern has emerged as clearly the best local team so far this season. However, the Wildcats have been ganging up on low-level competition. Their best win is at Virginia Tech. Even with DePaul dropping its last two games in blowouts, this is possibly Northwestern’s third toughest game of the non-conference season.
Northwestern’s offense has been explosive for the first time under third-year coach Chris Collins, despite losing promising sophomore wing Vic Law for the season with a shoulder injury. The Wildcats rank No. 53 in offensive efficiency, No. 20 in effective field-goal percentage and No. 59 in turnover rate. Their only glaring weak point has been foul shooting.
Defense is another story. While the Wildcats have climbed into the top-100 in efficiency, playing easy opponents has helped that cause. The Wildcats’ last two opponents, Chicago State and Mississippi Valley State, have quite possibly the worst offenses in Division I. That has helped Northwestern climb into the top 10 in two-point defense.
What you should know about DePaul (5-5, No. 177 KenPom):
While Northwestern’s two-point defense has excelled, DePaul has relied on scoring inside the arc. The Blue Demons rank No. 73 in the nation converting 51.9 percent of their two-point attempts. They also get to the foul line often, a result of point guard Billy Garrett and forward Myke Henry‘s slashing abilities, as well as defenses struggling to handle 6-foot-11 forward Tommy Hamilton IV‘s big body.
DePaul is an average 3-point shooting team with only one consistently reliable 3-point shooter in senior guard Aaron Simpson. This game will be decided by how effective the Blue Demons can be in the paint.
Northwestern 7-footer Alex Olah has had it easy recently, playing almost exclusively players 6-foot-6 or smaller the last few outings. The big Romanian will need to be ready, and Northwestern’s guards and wings will need to do everything they can to keep Garrett and Henry from slashing to the rim.
How to watch, listen, stream and bet:
Start time: 1 p.m. CT
TV: Fox Sports 1
App/Online: Fox Sports Go
Radio: WYLL 1160 AM
Line: Northwestern – 4.5
Sagarin: Northwestern -5.5
KenPom: Northwestern 70, DePaul 67 (63%)