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Big East meets Mid American as the DePaul Blue Demonshost the Buffalo Bulls Sunday afternoon.
After defeating Texas Tech last week in overtime, the Blue Demons are 9-0 and making serious believers from those that doubted the program’s late 2018-2019 run. With recent wins vs. Iowa, Boston College, Minnesota and the Red Raiders, DePaul is knocking on the door of its first national ranking since 2001.
Meanwhile, after consecutive NCAA Tournament runs, reaching the second round both years, Buffalo seeks a new identity after losing several key players from those March Madness groups. The Bulls have opened 2019-2020 to mixed results while losing vs. Dartmouth, UConn and most recently Vanderbilt.
DePaul opens as -9 point favorites. The Blue Demons are 6-0 from home. Buffalo is 0-1 away.
Defensive lapses affecting Bulls’ play after major summer changesThe departure of five seniors and head coach Nate Oats -Oats took the Alabama job this summer- has hit Buffalo hard through its first eight games of the new season. At 5-3, the Bulls have almost reached their loss total from last year’s 32-4 record. Defensively, Buffalo has fallen apart allowing 76.1 ppg (#305 NCAA) as opposing teams have had no issue gaining points in transition or half court sets vs. new head coach Jim Whitesell’s crew.
Most recently, Vanderbilt exploited the Bulls’ leaky defense behind junior Saben Lee’s 25 point outing. On a standout night for Vanderbilt basketball, the Commodores also gained productive lines from Aaron Nesmith (16), Clevon Brown (14) and Max Evans (13) to run up a 90-76 win over visiting Buffalo. In defeat, Antwain Johnson (16) and Davonta Jordan (15) led the Bulls’ offensive charge. Through the considerable personnel change, Buffalo has kept its head above water, mainly vs. smaller schools, by averaging 80.4 ppg. If nothing else, that scoring potential gives the Bulls a ‘puncher’s chance’ tonight vs. DePaul.
DePaul continues winning ways using balanceDePaul showed fighting spirit after outlasting Texas Tech 65-60 in overtime to highlight their latest outing. Jalen Coleman-Lands scored 10 of his team’s 12 overtime points to keep alive the Blue Demons’ unbeaten run. This season, DePaul has used every ounce of its deep roster while beating nine challengers in a variety of ways. The most common Blue Demon win, however, is by a double-digit margin where offense and defense merge to create successful results. Six DePaul wins come by 10-plus points this year.
Offensively the Blue Demons average 76.9 ppg. That figure is supported by juniors Charlie Moore (15.9) and Paul Reed (15.6) -DePaul sports a versatile nine-man rotation with four reserves contributing when needed. Defensively, Dave Leitao’s men hold opponents to 63.3 ppg. That balance should again being comfortable victory DePaul’s way tonight against Buffalo.
- Blue Demons are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
Blue Demons are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Sunday games.
- Blue Demons are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up win.
Trends courtesy of Covers.com
Bulls are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Bulls are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 road games Bulls are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Showing six double-digit wins on their ledger vs. teams comparable with tonight’s opponent, I’ll take DePaul with the Cover. Buffalo has struggled to gain stops, especially against upper-level competition this season. That weakness will be exploited tonight by a Blue Demon program infused with positive energy, performing for its home crowd. Look for big games tonight from Moore, Reed and Coleman-Lands. And take DePaul with the Cover.
Prediction: DePaul Covers
Full-Game Total Pick
Given DePaul’s credible offense is facing a Buffalo group averaging 80.4 ppg and allowing 76.1, I’ll take the slight lean Over 153.5. A few advantageous turnovers should come the Blue Demons’ way as Buffalo plays at the 20th fastest pace in college basketball, but isn’t always careful with the ball. Meanwhile, DePaul opts for a more controlled style while using just 71.5 possessions per game. With those clashing paces, tonight’s contest will become an opportunity for DePaul to add a few points to its 79.6 ppg total while holding Buffalo to around 70 points. My math has this game hitting a 156 total. Take the Over.