Illinois vs. Indiana College Basketball Odds & Pick: Bet the Illini to Pull Off Big Win (Feb. 2)
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Trent Frazier (left) and Ayo Dosunmu (right).
- The Illinois Fighting Illini will travel to Bloomington on Tuesday night to take on the Indiana Hoosiers in a Big Ten battle.
- The Illini are coming off a big win over Iowa and picked up a comfortable victory over the Hoosiers the last time the two teams played.
- According to Shane McNichol, the Illini have a clear advantage, and he explains why below.
Illinois vs. Indiana Odds
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Illinois’ hard-fought win over Iowa on Friday night marked one of the season’s best games to date and put the Illini back in contention to win the Big Ten regular-season title.
Behind 49 combined points from Ayo Dosunmu and Trent Frazier, Illinois recorded its best conference win so far this season. Tuesday offers a chance for the Illini to keep that momentum rolling, with a road test in Bloomington against Indiana looming.
The Hoosiers will return to action after over a week without a game, desperate for a win to keep them on the correct side of the NCAA Tournament bubble.
With plenty to play for on both sides, this Big Ten rivalry game is among the most crucial games on Tuesday’s slate and could swing either way after Illinois won the first meeting at home by nine points.
When Illinois has the ball
It might feel like an oversimplification, but this game will largely hinge on Indiana’s ability to slow down Dosunmu.
The junior guard has been lighting it up for the Illini, including a 30-point outing against the Hoosiers the first time these teams met.
On the season, Dosunmu is averaging 21.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.8 assists. The improvements in Dosunmu’s shooting, distributing, and ability to draw fouls have elevated him to All-American status and have the Illini offense ranked in the top 10 in the nation.
Against Indiana in December, Dosunmu had his hottest outside shooting night of the season, hitting four of his five attempts from outside the arc.
He was largely alone in shooting well in that game, as the rest of the Illini managed just 3-of-15 from long range. That was a surprise as Illinois has been the seventh-best outside shooting team in the nation this season, and Indiana has struggled to find shooters on the perimeter.
The Hoosiers allow the second-highest 3-point percentage on the fifth-highest rate of 3-point attempts in the Big Ten.
Brad Underwood’s guards, including Dosunmu, will be hunting those opportunities in transition.
Illinois takes the 12th-highest percentage of field goals in transition, per Hoop-Math, while posting the sixth-best effective field goal percentage on those attempts.
Indiana, meanwhile, has struggled to slow down teams in transition. The Hoosiers are allowing a 59.5 percent effective field goal percentage in transition, second-worst behind only Iowa among Big Ten teams.
When Indiana has the ball
On the other end of the floor, Indiana plays one of the most old school styles of basketball in the nation.
The Hoosiers have taken the fewest outside shots in Big Ten play and are led by a 20-point per game scorer in Trayce Jackson-Davis, who has yet to attempt a 3-pointer this season.
Aljami Durham leads the Hoosiers in 3-point attempts at 4.1 per game, the lowest of any player who leads his team in the Big Ten. This leaves Indiana without the firepower to keep up offensively in many games. The Hoosiers have made more 3s than their opponent in just four of their 16 games this season.
On top of that, Indiana is also in the bottom four in the conference in offensive rebound rate. Losing out on those extra possessions makes for an added offensive burden for Archie Miller and Company.
Playing at a slower tempo, relying on paint points, and failing to convert putbacks leaves the Hoosiers running in quicksand offensively against strong Big Ten defenses.
Illinois is particularly equipped to stall Indiana’s offense, thanks to Kofi Cockburn anchoring the paint for the Illini. In the first meeting, Cockburn held Jackson-Davis to just 3-of-13 shooting as the Hoosiers managed only 0.91 points per possession.
Betting Analysis & Pick
This game falls at an interesting time on the Big Ten schedule for both teams.
Indiana was slated to face Michigan on Saturday, but the Wolverines are currently not playing because of a school-wide pause on athletics due to COVID-19 concerns.
That means Indiana enters this game after more than a week of rest. That’s been good news so far this season for the Hoosiers, who are 4-1 with four or more days of rest, covering the spread in all five of those instances.
Unlike many teams that have dealt with long layoffs, Indiana is not dealing with COVID-19 cases in its own program but has benefitted from a scheduling quirk and an opponent’s cancellation. That means the Hoosiers have still been practicing and preparing for this Illinois matchup.
Illinois, meanwhile, kicked off college basketball’s weekend with one of the most exciting games of the season. The Illini battled for a narrow victory over Iowa in Champaign on Friday night in a game that featured 22 lead changes. The physical and emotional toll from a win like that is impossible to measure.
The two teams will bring completely different levels of energy to this game.
If a well-rested Hoosier team catches Illinois in a letdown spot after the big Iowa win, that could give Indiana’s defense the extra juice it needs to properly find Illinois’ shooters on the perimeter and keep the game close or spark a Hoosier upset.
But if Illinois can ride its momentum into Bloomington, push the ball in transition, and continue to be one of the nation’s best shooting teams, the Illini will be poised to not just win this game, but to do so comfortably.
This line stays attractive for Illinois as long as it stays below three possessions or 6.5 points.
Pick: Illinois -3.5 (up to -6.5)