DePaul (4-4) continues its five-game homestand with games against Florida Atlantic tonight and Chicago State on Sunday. The Blue Demons, who are coming off a 22-point loss to Arizona State, have been consistently losing points in the Illinois basketball rankings, and a loss to either of these teams would likely drop them to No. 3 or worse.
Florida Atlantic (3-6) sports Conference USA’s fourth-leading scorer in Pablo Bertone, a senior who averages 18.9 points per game. Bertone has more than doubled his scoring average from last season, although his field-goal and three-point shooting percentages have both dropped.
He had a rough shooting night his last time out with 20 points on 5-of-17 from the field, but in his two games prior to that he averaged 30 points on 53.5% shooting.
Up front, the Owls have foreigners Justin Raffington and Dragan Sekelja, as well as defensive stalwart Kelvin Penn. Penn, despite playing only 20.6 minutes per game, is one of Conference USA’s best shot blockers.
Raffington and Sekelja both average more than seven points and seven rebounds apiece.
Chicago State (4-5), which enters with a 0-5 record in road games, will have its hands full with DePaul forward Cleveland Melvin.
The defensive assignment will fall on senior forward Matt Ross, who averages 12.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks.
The Cougars’ best chance at keeping this game close will be by turning over the Blue Demons.
Chicago State ranks in the top 100 in turnover percentage defense, and DePaul ranks in the bottom third of the nation in turnover percentage offense. But as long as the Blue Demons take care of the ball, they should not have much trouble Sunday.