#7 Iowa vs #19 Illinois Route to March Madness

#7 Iowa vs #19 Illinois Route to March Madness

Written by on January 28, 2021

lone Top 25 matchup around college basketball Friday is from the Big Ten as No. 7 Iowa visits No. 19 Illinois with both still in the running for the regular-season title. The Hawkeyes likely will be short favorites on the NCAAB odds.

How to Bet Iowa at Illinois NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

  • When: Friday, 9 PM ET
  • Where: State Farm Center
  • TV: Fox Sports 1
  • Stream: Fox Sports Go
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAB Lines: TBA (Iowa should be favored)

Last Meeting

is their only scheduled meeting this season. They split last year, with the game in Champaign finishing 78-76 in favor of the Illini in what would turn out to be the final game of the year for both teams when the Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Tournament were canceled. Illini star Ayo Dosunmu had 17 points and Kofi Cockburn 12 – they are still with the team. Illinois built a 17-point lead late in the game, using a 12-2 run to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Luka Garza (still with Iowa) had 28 points.

Why Bet on Iowa? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Iowa was supposed to play Sunday vs. Nebraska but it was postponed. The Hawkeyes (12-3) were thus last in action on Jan. 21 and were shocked at home by unranked Indiana 81-69. It was a season low in points for the Hawkeyes, who entered second in the nation in scoring at 92.2 points per game. Iowa led by nine in the second half, then went 11 minutes without a field goal as Indiana went on a 23-3 run.

“I think we have to understand a little bit better what this league is and the quality of the teams that are coming in here and that we’re going to face on the road,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “I thought up until now we did a pretty good job of that. Our execution wasn’t sharp.”

Garza and Joe Wieskamp both posted double-doubles in the loss. Garza finished with 28 points on 10-of-28 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds, while Wieskamp finished with 16 points and 12 boards. Fifteen of Wieskamp’s 16 points came in the first half. Indiana limited Iowa to a 38.1 field goal percentage and a 5-of-23 night from 3-point range.

Garza now has 1,161 points in regular season Big Ten games, surpassing Roy Marble (1,113). Garza has tallied 199 points in eight Big Ten games this season; 496 in 20 games in 2019-20; 243 in 19 contests in 2018-19; and 223 in 18 games in 2017-18.

Iowa has avoided consecutive losses this season; the Hawkeyes’ three defeats came on Dec. 19 (No. 1 Gonzaga), Dec. 25 (Minnesota), and Jan. 21 (Indiana).

Iowa is 2-0 in conference one-plays this season. The Hawkeyes beat Purdue (home) and Maryland (away), both by double-digit margins. The Hawkeyes’ other one-plays include Nebraska and Penn State at home, and Michigan and Illinois on the road. Ten of Iowa’s 12 victories this season have come by 15 points or more.

Why Bet on Illinois? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Illini (10-5) were to play Saturday vs. Michigan State but that was postponed. Illinois last took the court Jan. 19 and was beat Penn State 79-65 to snap a two-game skid. Illinois charged to a 13-5 advantage and never relinquished the lead. The Illini led 42-28 at the break.  Illinois shot 46% from the field (26 for 57). Penn State was 21 of 62 (34%).

“We were better tonight (after two consecutive losses),” Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. “The biggest challenge in this game is the mental preparation. I told the guys I would coach them hard this week.”

Kofi Cockburn (21 points, 12 rebounds) recorded his 11th double-double in 15 games this season. Trent Frazier added 13 points on 3-for-7 shooting from behind the arc. Ayo Dosunmu again scored in double-digits, recording 13 points and five assists. The Illini set a season-best in blocks with 8.

Cockburn has registered double-doubles in eight of nine Big Ten contests and is averaging 19.7 points and 11.2 boards during league play on 72.7% shooting. Cockburn tied a career high with nine free throws made against Penn State.

Dosunmu is averaging 21.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game overall this season. Dosunmu is one of only two players in the nation averaging at least 20 points, five rebounds and four assists this season (Taevion Kinsey, Marshall). Friday’s game features the Big Ten’s top two scoring threats: Iowa senior Luka Garza (26.9 ppg) and Dosunmu (21.7 ppg).

Over the last five games, freshman Adam Miller is averaging 11.2 points (56) and making an average of 3.0 treys (15) while shooting 40.5% from behind the arc (15-37).

Illinois holds a 63-17 advantage in games played in Champaign vs. Iowa.  Illinois is 7-2 at the State Farm Center this season, winning its first seven, before dropping consecutive contests to Maryland and Ohio State.

Expert Prediction

  • Illinois 82, Iowa 80

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