What to watch for - Chicago State and Northwestern

Christian Wall

The back court play of Christian Wall will be particularly important for Chicago State against Eastern Illinois.

Tonight Chicago State and Northwestern both take the court. The Cougars will be playing against Eastern Illinois at the Jones Convocation Center while the Wildcats will take on Liberty at Welsh-Ryan Arena for their second game in the Chicago Invitational Challenge.

Both teams offer some challenges. Thus here are some early season trends to watch for tonight.

Eastern Illinois at Chicago State:

Summary: This is Chicago State's second game against an NCAA
Division I opponent and Eastern Illinois has actually played decently
thus far this season. The Panthers are 2-1, including a victory over Toledo and a close loss to IUPUI.
It has been Eastern Illinois' defense that has been getting it done
thus far this season. The Panthers are forcing a lot of turnovers and
not giving up offensive rebounds. This will be a good test for the new
Chicago State back court. Whether Christian Wall can handle Eastern Illinois and effectively distribute the ball will be very important. Also, Carl Montgomery needs to play big in this game and dominate the paint against a team that is very guard oriented.

Tyler Laser (15.3 points per game, 3.7 assists per game) has been
spear-heading the Eastern Illinois attack thus far this season. He
plays the most minutes and will need to be a focus of the Cougars'
defense.

Liberty at Northwestern:

Summary: Liberty at 1-4 is not on the same level as Northwestern. Then again, neither was Tennessee State and the Wildcats had all sorts of trouble with the Tigers. Liberty's only victory is against non-Division I opponent Southern Virginia and the Flames have lost by 19+ points to every Division I opponent except for a season opening 4-point loss against George Mason.

Kyle Ohman is the key man for Liberty. He averages 14.4 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game from the guard position. Liberty in general though has a terrible offense. The Flames have turned the ball over more than almost any other team in NCAA Division I during the early part of the season. The 1-3-1 should tear Liberty apart or a pressure game from the small lineup that played the majority of Sunday's second half against Tennessee State might also be in the cards for the Wildcats.

On offense expect the threes to be reigning down. Liberty has some serious problems guarding the perimeter. Opponents have hit 41 percent of their three-point shots thus far against Liberty.  

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