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How to watch Northwestern vs. Sacred Heart: Preview, TV channel, streaming, radio

After a disastrous loss to Texas Tech, the Wildcats will need to bounce back.

NCAA Basketball: Texas Tech at Northwestern Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern will look to prove its resilience after a 36-point thrashing by Texas Tech in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Championship on Sunday. It was the largest margin of defeat for the Wildcats since a 42-point loss to Virginia in 2007.

Sacred Heart should be a friendlier matchup than the Red Raiders. The Pioneers come to Allstate Arena with a 2-3 record, including losses to Holy Cross (that’s BILL CARMODY’S Holy Cross!), Boston College (by 20), and Saint Peter’s (by nine). For comparison, Sacred Heart is ranked No. 316 by KenPom while Northwestern’s previous non conference foes Loyola (Md.) and Saint Peter’s are No. 266 and No. 214, respectively.

When these team’s met for the first time two years ago, Northwestern scored 100 points for the first time since 1991 in a dominant 103-67 effort. Aaron Falzon and his since-graduated brother Tevin both dropped nine points. The win made the Wildcats 11-1, their best 12-game start since 1982. Now, Chris Collins’ team needs a convincing win more than ever.

Tasked with replacing two of its top three leading scorers from last season, Sacred Heart has understandably struggled offensively. Star guard Quincy McKnight transferred to Seton Hall, and the Pioneers have had trouble replacing his 18.9 points per game. In his fifth year, head coach Anthony Latina’s group has an alarmingly high 25.8 turnover percentage. That has parlayed into a 94.6 adjusted offensive efficiency, good for 326th in the nation.

One thing the Pioneers bring to Rosemont on Friday is experience. Three starters - Mario Matasovic, Joseph Lopez and Charles Tucker Jr. - are seniors. Both forwards, Matasovic and Lopez have poured in double digit points in each of five games this season. Matasovic is more of a perimeter player while Lopez likes to work in the paint - he’s essentially a 6-foot-7 center. Let the latter shoot, however. Lopez is 0-for-9 from three on the year.

Junior guard Sean Hoehn has the green light from anywhere. He’s attempted 32 shots from beyond the arc in just five games. The same goes for SIU-Edwardsville sophomore transfer Kinnon LaRose. Fellow guard Tucker Jr. is a pass-first point, rounding out Sacred Heart’s starting five. Freshman E.J. Anosike and Alex Watson are both easing their way into the rotation off the bench.

Matasovic is the tallest Pioneer at 6-foot-8, but 6-foot-7 Lopez and Anosike do the bulk of the rebounding for an undersized Sacred Heart team. Lopez is averaging nine boards per game and after playing sparingly against Saint Peter’s and Boston College, Anosike collected 17 and 16 rebounds in wins over Maine and Mitchell.

Northwestern will be Sacred Heart’s biggest test of this young season, and it will be interesting to see how Matasovic, Lopez and Anosike handle Dererk Pardon, Barret Benson, Vic Law and Gavin Skelly on the glass. If Hoehn, LaRose and Matasovic can get their perimeter shots to fall, the Pioneers will hang around on Friday night. If not, the Wildcats could be on the right side of a lopsided contest. Either way, this game will serve as a tune-up for Northwestern and a chance to get back on track before a significant stretch of Georgia Tech, Illinois and Purdue.

Adjusted ranks (KenPom)

Stat Northwestern rank Sacred Heart rank
Stat Northwestern rank Sacred Heart rank
Off. Efficiency 34 326
Def. Efficiency 81 258
Tempo 234 109

Broadcast Information

Game Time: 7:30 p.m. CT

TV: BTN Plus

Online: BTN2Go (need the plus subscription, however)

Radio: WGN 720

KenPom prediction: 84-63 (98% chance to win)

Betting Line: N/A (but I’ll throw 18.5 at -110 out there)