College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Illinois vs. Maryland (Friday, Jan. 21)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Andre Curbelo.
- The Illinois Fighting Illini are big road favorites against the struggling Maryland Terrapins on Friday.
- Illinois suffered a tough loss on Monday, dropping a double overtime affair at home against Purdue.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Editor’s Note: Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn is in concussion protocol and will not play in Friday’s game against Maryland.
Illinois vs. Maryland Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Illinois Fighting Illini head to College Park with redemption on their mind against the Maryland Terrapins, who are looking to end their Big Ten skid.
Illinois enters this matchup after losing one of the year’s best games to the Purdue Boilermakers. Though they wound up on the wrong end, the Fighting Illini showed how potent this team could be when firing on all cylinders. It certainly had to be frustrating for this Illinois team to come so close to getting over the hump, but only to lose in overtime. That frustration may be prevalent in this matchup.
For Maryland, the beginning of the conference schedule has been rough. The Terps are 1-6 in conference play and have lost four of their last five in that span. Their latest loss was a thumping against the Wolverines.
With their season teetering, can the Terrapins rally against the Fighting Illini?
It was surprising to see how quiet Kofi Cockburn was in a game that went into double overtime and totaled 184 points.
He only managed 10 points and five rebounds, both of which were his lowest totals in any game this season. It may be justified as he was matched up against Zach Edey, one of the few men who are actually bigger than Cockburn. He also fouled out of the game, which was the first time he had done that all season.
Even with Cockburn being tamed by Purdue, his supporting cast showed up in a big way and displayed how good the Illini backcourt really is.
Alfonso Plummer had 24, Trent Frazier had 16, and the most impactful performance came from Andre Curbelo, who dropped 20 points in 26 minutes in his first game back from a concussion that kept him out for nearly two months.
A bounce-back performance from Cockburn would have fueled the Fighting Illini’s output in this matchup. Maryland does not have anyone remotely close enough in size to match up with him down low.
Illinois’ backcourt trio may also have the opportunity for another productive performance as the Terrapins are 178th in opponent 3-point percentage allowed. That indicates trouble against a team in Illinois that is the 19th-best 3-point shooting team in the nation.
The Terps play slow, which correlates to its point total, but the issue is that they have not been great at controlling the pace. Their opponent possesses the ball almost two full seconds less than Maryland does on offense.
The pacing issue only amplifies deficits as their scoring options essentially consists of just two players. However, those two players, Eric Ayala and Donta Scott, deserve a lot of credit for keeping this team afloat. Ayala and Scott have been the only consistent double-digit scorers, but their offensive pace dampens the number of points they can produce.
If Maryland wants to right the ship, it needs a consistent third scoring option. The most likely member to step up is Fatts Russell.
Russell has and will continue to have the opportunity to produce as he is essentially tied with Ayala for the lead in offensive usage. Though he has been delegated to the team’s facilitator in these losing efforts, it is clear that his scoring is needed as it contributed to Maryland’s last win.
The Terrapins will need to muster their best effort as the Illini is a stout defensive team. Illinois is 21st in adjusted defensive efficiency and 16th in effective field goal percentage allowed. Maryland may be due to break out, however, as its effective field goal percentage is 248th, and the talent is much more capable than the numbers show.
Illinois vs. Maryland Betting Pick
The Fighting Illini hold the edge on both ends of the court in this one, and if they had won their matchup against Purdue, it might have been a let-down spot. However, the loss combined with Cockburn regressing positively and Curbelo’s role expanding points to another solid effort from Illinois here.
I’ll be backing Illinois here. On top of the Terps’ offensive issues; they have also not been great at covering. Their 6-12 ATS record will be receiving another tally in the loss column
Pick: Illinois -7.5
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