Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Wintrust Arena, Chicago, IL
Purdue Fort Wayne +11½ over DePaul
9:00 PM EST. The price to get behind a Big East team playing a Horizon team is almost always going to be inflated and that’s certainly the case here. Hell, we would not be a bit surprised if the underdog won this game outright.
In total, Purdue Fort Wayne lost 76% of their minutes and scoring from last season, which is why they are not getting much respect here. However while PFW’s personnel will be different this season, the scheme remains the same. The Mastodons will play with pace and freedom while letting it fly from deep.
No one in the Big East was more upset than Tony Stubblefield when Georgetown fired Patrick Ewing. When the Hoya legend went winless while coaching his alma mater during the 2021-22 season, Stubblefield was able to put on his résumé that he was the first DePaul coach in six seasons to avoid finishing in last place in the Big East ---and he did it in back-to-back years.
There hasn’t been much basketball history to get excited about regarding DePaul since the program moved to the Big East in 2005. Just once in the 18 seasons since have the Blue Demons finished with a winning record in league play, and they’ve finished dead last in the Big East standings in 11 of the past 15 seasons. As a member of the Big East, DePaul is 71-272 against conference foes when you include the Big East Tournament. With all that in mind, Stubbs is about to head into this season losing five of his top six scorers from a team that put together a 3-17 campaign in the league. Spotting inflated points with this team is not the place you want to be.
Look, it’s DePaul. Anybody can write complimentary things. Anybody can buy into the ideas that Stubbs is pushing. Anybody can squint their eyes and tell you a story of how his vision will work but at the end of the day, it has been a long time since there has been any kind of positive momentum with this program. This season, specifically, there appears to be a clear-cut top six in the Big East. The other five schools are St. John’s, who hired Rick Pitino; Seton Hall, whose coach was in the Elite Eight in 2021; Butler, whose coach has been to two Final Fours and a national title game; Georgetown, who brought in the guy that turned Providence from DePaul East to a Big East champion; and DePaul. This is an awful program with not much to look forward to this year and now they’re being asked to spot a number in a 50/50 game. It’s absurd.
For PFW, replacing five starters in a single offseason is an arduous task but the Mastodons have been consistent with their style and results, though, posting just two losing seasons since Coffman took over in 2014-15. PFW hopes to quickly get its new roster up to speed and maintain its winning ways.
“We have this group that’s really really hungry, has talent that is evolving and wants to get better,” Coffman summarized. “It’s about how quickly we get there.” The Mastodons recruit from one of the most fertile regions in the country and it says here they’ll take some people by surprise and cash some tickets early before the market catches up. We’ll put that to the test here.
Purdue Fort Wayne +11½ -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)