The DePaul Blue Demons and Villanova Wildcats will take the floor Wednesday at William B. Finneran Pavilion. Tip-off from Philadelphia is at 8:30 p.m. ET. The Wildcats are 9.5-point spread favorites and the game total is 142 points.
DePaul, 9-15 SU and 11-12-1 ATS, lost to Seton Hall on Sunday. The Blue Demons are 0-5 in their past five and 3-10 in Big East competition.
Villanova, 10-13 SU and 8-15 ATS, lost to Creighton on Saturday. The Wildcats are 2-3 in their past five and 4-8 in conference play.
DePaul defeated Villanova 75-65 on Jan. 10, ending its 22-game losing streak to the Wildcats. The Blue Demons shot 45.5 percent from the field and held Villanova under 30 percent from three-point range. The Wildcats also committed 14 turnovers in the road loss.
DePaul has a -6.1 rebounding marginDePaul has been unable to capitalize on the momentum it generated in its recent win over then-eighth-ranked Xavier, dropping the next five consecutive games. The Blue Demons have shown promise, but they lack consistency.
Seton Hall beat DePaul 69-64 over the weekend, as the Blue Demons committed 29 fouls and 14 turnovers. It wasn't a pretty win for the Pirates, though, as they shot 34.6 percent, including 3-of-14 from three. They also turned the ball over 13 times, and while they got to the line often, they missed 15 of 45 foul shots. DePaul shot 40.0 percent from the field in the road loss.
400 career threes and counting...#BlueGrit 🔵😈 pic.twitter.com/a4j3K3fipE— DePaul Basketball (@DePaulHoops) February 6, 2023
The Blue Demons score 71.3 points (182nd) and shoot 42.3 percent from the field (298th), including 35.8 percent from long range (94th). They convert 74.9 percent of their free throws (52nd) and average 29.5 rebounds (304th) with a -6.1 rebounding margin. DePaul is 120th nationally in schedule-adjusted offensive efficiency and 237th in effective field goal percentage (49.4%).
Senior guard Umoja Gibson leads the Blue Demons in scoring. He averages 16.0 points, 4.9 assists, and 2.1 steals and shoots 40.5 percent from three-point range. Other players to watch include senior forward Javan Johnson (14.5 PPG and 4.6 RPG), junior forward Da'Sean Nelson (10.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 56.7 FG%), and senior forward Eral Penn (9.5 PPG and 7.3 RPG).
DePaul gives up 75.9 points per game (334th) and its opponents shoot 44.9 percent from the floor (276th), including 34.8 percent from behind the arc (260th). It's 181 in adjusted defensive efficiency, 91st in adjusted tempo, and 145th in assist-per-turnover ratio.
Villanova boasts the highest FT% in the NCAAIt's rare to look up and see the Wildcats with a losing record, but the program is in a state of transition under first-year head coach Kyle Neptune. Villanova has been on a downward slide since losing to Connecticut, dropping seven of its next ten overall. Following three straight losses, can Nova still salvage a winning season?
Creighton took care of Villanova on Saturday, holding off the Wildcats down the stretch. It was a matchup between teams headed in different directions as Creighton picked up its sixth consecutive victory. Both shot under 40 percent from the field, but the Wildcats committed 21 fouls and 12 turnovers. They were also outrebounded, giving up 11 offensive rebounds.
ERIC. DIXON. 😤 pic.twitter.com/kGYHP1jNAa— Villanova MBB (@NovaMBB) February 5, 2023
Villanova scores 69.7 points per game (230th) and shoots 43.7 percent from the field (241st), including 33.3 percent from three (233rd). It converts 82.9 percent of its free throws (1st) and averages 29.0 rebounds (315th) with a -0.1 rebounding margin. The Wildcats are 46th in schedule-adjusted offensive efficiency and 113th in effective field goal percentage (51.7%).
Senior guard Caleb Daniels leads Nova in scoring. He averages 16.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game. Other Wildcats to watch are senior forward Eric Dixon (15.8 PPG and 6.6 RPG), freshman forward Cam Whitmore (12.3 PPG and 5.4 RPG), and senior forward Brandon Slater (10.6 PPG and 5.0 RPG). Senior guard Justin Moore (9.0 PPG and 3.3 APG), a key cog from the Wildcats' recent tournament runs, made his season debut three games ago after recovering from an Achilles injury.
Villanova surrenders 68.6 points per game (155th), and its opponents shoot 44.0 percent from the field (222nd), including 34.8 percent from deep (259th). It's 107th in adjusted defensive efficiency, 335th in adjusted tempo, and 165th in assist-per-turnover ratio.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
I am confident DePaul will keep this game close. The Blue Demons already beat the Wildcats straight-up and could be due for a win after dropping five straight. Plus, they've proven to be a better ATS bet (11-12-1) than Nova (8-15) this season.
The Blue Demons are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a losing straight-up record, while the Wildcats are 0-4 ATS in their last four home games vs. a team with a losing road record. Villanova is also 1-7 ATS in their last eight games following an ATS win and 1-8 ATS in their last nine games vs. a team with a winning percentage below .400.
The narrow loss to Creighton will prove to be a backbreaker for Nova, which will limp into the finish line. I'll bet on the Demon Deacons +9.5.
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Full-Game Total Pick
The under is 4-0 in the Blue Demons' last four games following an ATS win and 4-0 in the Wildcats' last four overall.
I'll take the under at 142 in this Big East matchup. Neither team has looked comfortable enough offensively to justify picking the over. Nova is coming off a crushing loss to Creighton and DePaul has been tanking, even losing when it outshoots its opponents. The home squad is one of the country's slowest-paced teams, and the visitors are among the worst rebounding teams. Plus, these teams have already played this season, so there shouldn't be any surprises on game day.
Give me the under at 142 total points scored.