#14 Illinois vs Nebraska

#14 Illinois vs Nebraska | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on January 12, 2021

Nebraska is winless in the Big Ten, and the Cornhuskers don’t figure to pick up that first victory on Wednesday as they will be solid home underdogs on the NCAAB odds when welcoming No. 14 Illinois.

How to Bet Illinois at Nebraska NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info
  • When: Wednesday, 9 PM ET
  • Where: Pinnacle Bank Arena
  • TV: Big Ten Network
  • Stream: BTN+
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAB Lines: TBA (Illinois will be favored)
Last Meeting

The schools met once last season and the Illini won 71-59 at home. Ayo Dosunmu scored 18 points and Kofi Cockburn added 15 points and 10 rebounds in the win. Both of those guys are back this season. The first half was close, but Illinois went on a 6-0 run capped by a 70-foot shot at the buzzer by Frazier that was all net. The Illini led 37-31 at the break. Nebraska outscored Illinois 15-9 to open the second half and tied the game at 46 with 15:11 left. But Illinois used its athleticism and size to put together a 21-9 run to create a 10-point cushion the Cornhuskers couldn’t overcome. Illinois was 28 of 71 from the field (29%), while Nebraska was 24 of 57 (42%).

Why Bet on Illinois? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Illini (9-4) were knocked off Sunday at home by Maryland, 66-63. The game was fast-paced and close throughout. Hakim Hart hit a 3-pointer with 4:08 left to give the Terrapins a 62-61 lead, which Maryland didn’t relinquish. The Terrapins limped in on a three-game Big Ten losing streak, including two double-digit home losses. Maryland played without point guard Eric Ayala (14 points per game) due to a groin injury.

“They’re a great basketball team, a team I think could a Final Four team,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said of Illinois. “This league … I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s absolutely relentless.”

The Illini were led by junior Ayo Dosunmu’s 23 points and eight rebounds as well as sophomore Kofi Cockburn’s 21 points and 10 boards. The two teams stayed close throughout the game, with Illinois holding the lead for 22 minutes. Down three with eight seconds left, Dosunmu had a chance to tie the game off of a missed Maryland free throw but could not convert.

Senior Da’Monte Williams was held scoreless on the night but contributed nine rebounds and five assists while also taking two charging fouls. Williams leads the nation in 3-point shooting (min. 20 attempts), connecting on 21-of-32 for 65.6%.

Dosunmu is the only player in the nation averaging at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists this season. Cockburn leads the NCAA with nine double-doubles on the year. He has registered double-doubles in six of seven Big Ten contests and is averaging 20 points and 11.3 boards during league play on 70.8% shooting.

Why Bet on Nebraska? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Huskers (4-8) lost 84-76 at home to Indiana on Sunday. Trayce Jackson-Davis‘ foul shot with 15:53 left put the Hoosiers up 56-41. Nebraska responded with a 22-6 run in a little more than the next six minutes and led 63-62 on Kobe Webster’s 3-pointer with 9:39 remaining. Jackson-Davis’ jump shot with 3:52 to go broke a 71-all tie after the lead went back-and-forth, and Indiana led the remainder as the Huskers dropped their 22nd consecutive conference game.

Teddy Allen led five Huskers in double figures with 21 points, while Lat Mayen chipped in a career-high 15 points, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range. Nebraska withstood a blistering Hoosier start, as IU hit 11 of its first 15 shots from the floor, including 6-of-8 from 3-point range to build a 31-13 lead.

All five starters had at least 10 points for Nebraska. That marked the fourth game this season that at least five Huskers scored in double figures and the first time that the entire starting lineup all reached double figures.

Derrick Walker, making his Nebraska debut and the first start of his collegiate career, finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting. The 10 points matched his career high, as he also scored 10 points at South Carolina during his freshman season at Tennessee in 2017-18. After serving a suspension that caused him to miss 11 games, Walker certainly made his presence known.

“The thing about Derrick coming back for the first time, I mean he was gassed a couple times up the floor… That’s his first action in two years,” head coach Fred Hoiberg said postgame. “I thought Derrick was phenomenal, I thought he did a really good job around the basket.”

Nebraska had 16 assists and only nine turnovers in the game. The Huskers finished with more assists than turnovers for the second time in Big Ten play, while the plus-seven assist-to-turnover ratio was Nebraska’s second-best mark against a Division I opponent this season. Nebraska’s 16 assists were its highest total since Dec. 17.

Expert Prediction
  • Illinois 80, Nebraska 71

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