College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Illinois vs. Texas (Tuesday, Dec. 6)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Coleman Hawkins
- Illinois and Texas meet in a top-25 matchup on Tuesday night in New York as part of the Jimmy V Classic.
- The Illini rely heavily on the 3-point shot offensively, but their defense could put them over the top against the undefeated Longhorns.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting prediction.
Illinois vs. Texas Odds
The Jimmy V Classic kicks off on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Illinois Fighting Illini take on the Texas Longhorns for a Big Ten/Big-12 matchup. Illinois is coming off of a tight loss on the road to the Maryland Terrapins, while Texas is undefeated, including wins over Gonzaga and Creighton.
Illinois plays tight interior defense and forces a ton of turnovers, which just so happens to be similar to the Longhorns. The Fighting Illini also thrive off the 3-pointer, which is a change of pace from last season when they had the inside presence of Kofi Cockburn.
In all, 36.6% of Illinois’ points have come from beyond the arc this season. Given that Texas has three guards who defend well, this will be an intriguing perimeter matchup.
Let’s see if we can find betting value in this big-time matchup.
Illinois ranks 12th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. Opponents are shooting 42.4% as an eFG%, compared to 40.1% for the Longhorns. This is neck-and-neck and essentially eliminates the competitive advantage Texas has over opponents. Compared to the two other highly rated teams Texas has played (Gonzaga and Creighton), Illinois is much tougher defensively.
Photo by CBB Analytics
Illinois shoots better than 35% from downtown on the season. Texas has faced those two tough teams, but the rest of their schedule brings the overall strength down.
On the season, Texas’ strength of schedule is 304th, according to KenPom. It is not like the Illini have had a particularly tough go of it, either, ranking 228th in strength of schedule.
The reason this is crucial is that of the two relevant teams Texas has faced, the Zags shot 9-for-19 in Austin. Since Illinois hoists so many outside shots, the 23.2% opponent 3-point percentage for the Longhorns on defense will look a bit exaggerated.
The Longhorns do not turn the ball over much on offense (15.8%), while the Illini rank 260th in offensive turnover percentage at 20.5%. This is one clear advantage for the Longhorns.
Coleman Hawkins, Dain Dainja and Skyy Clark are the typical Illini who have troubles in this area. Much of the turnovers are produced by Marcus Carr or Brock Cunningham while they are on the floor.
Texas produces nearly its entire offense inside the arc. Nearly 60% of its points have come off of two-pointers and it rarely get to the free throw line.
Photo by CBB Analytics
Tyrese Hunter and Carr are the deep threats for the Longhorns, but Illinois has some great defensive matchups with Terrance Shannon Jr., Matthew Mayer and RJ Melendez to throw at a wing.
Do not expect many threes from this Texas offense to go in. They are shooting a collective 28.9% from outside despite having faced some weaker competition.
Illinois also forces turnovers at a 24.6% rate. Timmy Allen turns it over nearly three times per game, so if Hawkins, Shannon, Mayer or Melendez go at him, he may be in trouble.
Illinois vs. Texas Betting Pick
Illinois is getting discounted going into this game and the market is a little down on them, after dropping their last game to Maryland.
Texas’ weaker schedule and propensity to give up the deep ball to teams will leave plenty of shots open for the 3-point heavy Illini.
Take Illinois +4 (-110), and play to +2 (-110).
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