NCAA Basketball Betting Preview: Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Miami Hurricanes – Monday, Dec. 2, 2019

by Tyler Vaysman | December 2, 2019 |

Miami (4-3, 0-1 away) will travel to Champaign to face Illinois (6-1, 5-0). This is the first night of the Big Ten/ACC challenge, with Clemson taking on Minnesota in the tonight's other matchup. The last time these teams played was in the Big Ten/ACC challenge in 2014 with Miami coming out on top 70-61.

The Hurricanes played in the Charleston Classic in South Carolina last week. It started with a nice win over Missouri State, before Florida and UConn had their way with Miami in blowout losses.

In their last game against UConn they lost 80-55. Dejan Vasiljevic and Rodney Miller Jr. were they only players in double figures with 11 and 10 points respectively. The Hurricanes managed only 26 rebounds.

Illinois is about to be tested after playing a stretch of four games against lesser opponents. The best team they played was Hawaii, who is 164th in Kenpom, after losing to Arizona on November 10th.

After Miami they will play Maryland and Michigan to open Big Ten play, so they really would like a win tonight. In there last game against Lindenwood, who is not a division 1 team, they won 117-65. Ayo Dosunmu scored 24 points and was joined by five other players in double figures. The Illini shot 61.9% from the floor.

Hurricanes Off To A Rough Start

This wasn't supposed to be a Miami team that competed for the ACC crown, but more was expected to start the season. All their losses are inside the Kenpom top 60, but none have been close. They are yet to defeat a top 100 team.

Vasiljevic leads the team with 13.9 points per game. Miller Jr. leads the team with 5.7 rebounds per game. Rebounding is an area they will definitely have to improve if they want any shot at making the tournament. Harlond Beverly leads the team with 2.6 assists per game.

Miami is currently 88th in Kenpom. There offensive efficiency is 39th in the nation but their defense is only 147th.

Illini Look For Resume Win

Illinois is looking to make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2013-2014. They need to win this game to give themselves a quality non-conference win.

Their only opponent inside the top 100 so far was Arizona and they lost 90-69. They will get one other shot at a quality non-conference win against Missouri on December 21st.

Dosunmu leads the team in scoring at 16.3 points per game. Freshman Kofi Cockburn leads the team in rebounding with 12 a game.

The battle between Cockburn and Miller Jr., both seven footers, should be a fun one to watch inside. Andres Feliz leads the team with 4.4 assists per game.

The Illini are 41st in Kenpom. Their offense ranks 30th in the nation and their defense comes in at 55th.

The Line

Mybookie has Illinois as 8-point favorites. The total is set at 146.5 points.

Free Betting Pick

The Illini need a top 100 win and they should get it tonight. Miami doesn't rebound at all. Illinois should dominate on the glass and give themselves multiple opportunities.

Miami does shoot the ball much better from behind the arc, so if they can knock down some shots they might be able to stay in this one. Illinois is just a much better team from top to bottom, I see the Illini walking away with an easy win and covering the spread.

Miami 67, Illinois 80

Spooky Express Free Pick: Illinois -8

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