Saturday Previews

Now that the turkey has digested and Thanksgiving has ended college basketball continues to fire into full swing. While college football will be the focus of many over the next two weeks, college basketball has some important games. Saturday is one of those days with four of Chicago's college basketball teams in action.

Previews for the four games are after the break.

Detroit (4-1) at DePaul (3-1):
When: 1 p.m. CT
Summary: DePaul returns home to Allstate Arena to take on a Horizon League foe that some people think could challenge Butler in conference. The Titans couldn't pull the upset against California at the opening of the season, but they've handled all of their mid-major opponents since. The Blue Demons had a very successful trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands with victories over St. Joseph's and Northern Iowa, but can't afford to take a step back against Detroit.
What to Watch For:

  • Will Mac Koshwal play? The Blue Demons junior center sat out the game against St. Joseph's with a foot injury. 
  • Does Tony Freeland get in the game? Freeland is now eligible to play after enrolling at DePaul. He was DePaul's best incoming recruit according to many scouting services, so his eligibility could be very helpful.

Accuscore Prediction: DePaul 65.6, Detroit 59.6

St. Ambrose at Loyola (Ill.) (3-1):
When: 3 p.m. CT
Summary: The Ramblers get a bit of a break from all the hectic hustle of playing decent mid-major teams for a break against an NAIA school. St. Ambrose is 4-2 overall and is led by four players in double-figures including sophomores Mike Kennedy (13.0 ppg) and Chris Donnelly (12.6 ppg). St. Ambrose has no player taller than 6'8" on their roster, so the Ramblers should dominate inside.
What to Watch For:

  • Can Courtney Stanley keep Loyola running? Stanley has been a little up-and-down this season, but when he's at his best the Ramblers are a great team on offense.
  • Will Andy Polka, Ben Averkamp and others take advantage of the soft interior of St. Ambrose? Polka has been having some excellent games lately. Averkamp has looked like a freshman, but he also seems to be getting more comfortable on the interior. Both should play well against St. Ambrose.

Accuscore Prediction: None.

UIC (1-2) at Southern Illinois (2-1):
When: 7 p.m. CT
Summary: The Salkuis are known for the defensive intensity and thus this could be a long day for UIC on offense. The Flames need to find consistent offense and thus whether Zavion Neely can continue to play at a high level will be of the utmost concern. Ironically this season it has been Southern Illinois' offense that has been playing at a particularly high level. The Salukis are scoring 1.25 points per possession and have been getting to the free throw line at a high rate - and cashing in at a 76.8% clip. Southern Illinois defends the perimeter well, but defends the paint well, so it'll be interesting to see how UIC plays in this game.
What to Watch For:

  •  How many two point shots will UIC make? The Flames have had some problems scoring inside. Southern Illinois gives up easy two-point baskets. Something has to give.
  • Will Robo Kreps find room to operate? Kreps is UIC's best threat, but he might not be able to get open with a lot of attention being paid to him.

Accuscore Prediction: Southern Illinois 68.8, UIC 59.8

Iowa State (6-0) vs. Northwestern (4-1):
When: 7 p.m. CT
Summary: Iowa State has already defeated one Chicago school, the Cyclones beat Chicago State 72-50. Friday's game against St. Louis was Iowa State's first close game of the young season as the Cyclones have smothered opponents with too much Craig Brackins (17.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and three other players in double figures. Iowa State resembles Notre Dame in a lot of ways, so this will not be an easy game for Northwestern. Everything about this game suggests another barn-burner of a game.
What to Watch For:

  •  How will Northwestern contain Brackins? The Wildcats did enough to contain Luke Harangody on Friday, now they get another difficult inside match-up in Brackins.
  • Will John Shurna show consistency? Northwestern got a great game from Shurna on Friday. He has had a bit of an up-and-down season, he needs to put two excellent games together and help carry the Wildcats.

Accuscore Prediction: Northwestern 65.3, Iowa State 62.8

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