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Illinois State Redbirds vs. DePaul Blue Demons - 12/22/13

DePaul Blue Demons (7-4) at Illinois State Redbirds (6-5)

College Basketball: Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:35 pm (Redbird Arena)

The Line: Illinois State Redbirds -1.5 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds

TV: Comcast Sports Net - Chicago

The Illinois State Redbirds host another team from Illinois, the DePaul Blue Demons from the Big East on Sunday afternoon in Normal, Illinois.

The Redbirds are coming off of two rather disappointing showings, but at least they pulled out with a win vs. Tennessee St. (1-11) on Thursday. Before that, they lost by double-digits to Oakland in an away game. It seemed as though the young Birds had turned a corner last weekend with a big upset win over 25th ranked Dayton at Redbird Arena. But they are still searching for an identity and trying to find combinations on the floor that work. One thing teams can identify as a tendency for ISU is their propensity to shoot 3-pointers. They have combined to shoot 65 of them in the past 2 games. They can’t rely on that and win consistently, as they are around 35% for the season from downtown.

Illinois State Redbirds vs. DePaul Blue Demons - 12/22/13

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

DePaul enters the game holding a six game non-conference road win streak, which is one of the best in the country currently. They have a good shot at 7 straight, as they have a mild rebounding edge. They added freshman Tommy Hamilton into the mix, who is a space eater with lots of potential. He is averaging 11 points and about 6 boards per game. Their leading scorer, senior Clevelend Melvin, also goes up and gets the boards and leads them at 7.2 boards per game. Two other scorers give the Blue Demons offensive production at over 10 ppg. They have a couple nice wins (at Milwaukee and vs. Oregon St.), but have not really come close in their losses.

The Redbirds are still not easy to figure out and these two clubs may be pretty evenly matched at this point in the season, especially given that ISU is at home.

I believe DePaul, picked to finish last in the Big East, is slightly stronger and they should prove they can at least battle with Big East opponents by taking care of business here. They will not be phased on the road, having played well there in the non-conference portion of the season and are used to hostile environments in the Big East. Illinois State might be good later in the season, but have been settling for too many three pointers lately.

I think the line is in favor of the Redbirds due to their big win at Dayton last weekend, but I’ll take DePaul and the point and a half, as I thought they’d be the ones favored by 1 or 2.

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