Basketball Pick: Illinois vs. Ohio State
Date/Time: January 23rd, 7:00 ET
College Basketball Odds from WagerWeb
Point Spread: Off
As an exciting Big Ten season rolls on the Ohio State Buckeyes will play host to the Illinois Fighting Illini on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN. Both of these teams will be trying to stop four-game losing streaks when they meet inside Value City Arena.
The Fighting Illini have fallen apart in their last four contests after jumping out of the gate with a 2-0 conference record. Two of those four losses have come to Big Ten frontrunners, the Michigan State Spartans and the Wisconsin Badgers, both of which are ranked among the top five teams in the country. Saturday’s 78-62 loss to the Spartans was downright ugly for the Illini, who shot just 38 percent from the floor. They settled for 23 attempts from beyond the arc and made only seven of those shots in the loss. Their willingness to fire up the long ball has seen the Illini shoot just 31 percent from the three-point line this season. Illinois is led by its junior G Rayvonte Rice who is averaging 17.4 points and 5.9 boards per game. Rice scored 12 points in Saturday’s loss to go with five rebounds and two assists. The Illini are 0-3-1 ATS on the road this season and have failed to cover a spread since a 75-55 win over the Penn State Nittany Lions on January 4th.
The Buckeyes have basically fallen apart since opening the season on a 15-game winning streak that included two wins inside the Big Ten. Their 72-68 overtime loss at Michigan State back on January 7th has set the tone for this current four-game losing streak they will be trying to break in this one. In its last two outings, Ohio State has taken inexcusable losses to the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Nebraska Cornhuskers on the road. The Buckeyes are 13-1 SU on their home floor this season with the only loss to the No. 20 Iowa Hawkeyes. Ohio State F LaQuinton Ross leads the team with 13.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. In his last outing Ross scored 11 points making on just four of his 12 attempts from the field in a 68-62 loss at Nebraska on Monday. Perhaps what the boys from Columbus need more than anything is a big game from G Aaron Craft. His scoring has been down of late, but he did show signs of a turnaround scoring 12 points and grabbing seven rebounds in his last game. For a team with such a dominant record at home, the Buckeyes are an even 6-6 ATS in those games.
The last time these two met on March 10th, 2013 was a 68-55 win for the Buckeyes who were fighting for a share of the Big Ten title at that time. As Ohio State has struggled to return to form that saw it reach the Elite Eight last season, it should get the big games it needs from Ross and Craft who were both key components in the last meeting. We think something will have to give in this battle of teams who are horrible at covering spreads and it will with the Buckeyes getting a huge rebound win on their home floor. Ohio State 74 – Illinois 59