#18 Iowa (20-10, 11-8) travel to Champaign to face #23 Illinois (20-10, 21-7). The winner will get a double bye in the Big Ten tournament and not have to play until Friday as the number four seed. A loss the Hawkeyes could drop them all the way down to a possible eight seed.
The Hawkeyes are coming off a 77-68 loss to Purdue which ended their conference championship chances. Luka Garza continued his string of 20 point games with a 26 points and 12 rebound performance. Joe Wieskamp was the only other Iowa player in double figures with 10 points. The Hawkeyes were dominated on the boards 47-33.
Illinois lost to Ohio State 71-63 in their last game. Ayo Dosunmu had 21 points and five assists to lead the Illini. Kofi Cockburn was held in check by the Buckeyes defense. He had only 6 points and 3 rebounds. Andres Feliz was the only other Illinois player in double figures with 11 points. Feliz also had 11 rebounds for a double double.
Hawkeyes Looking To Rebound From Home Loss
After losing a home game to Purdue, that cost the Hawkeyes any chance at a Big Ten title, Iowa would love to a road win to cap a really nice regular season. A road win would give Iowa a four seed in the Big Ten tournament and keep them in the conversation for as high as a five seed in the NCAA tournament.
Iowa is led by Garza in scoring (23.7), rebounding (9.9) and blocks (1.8). Wieskamp (14.3) and CJ Fredrick (10.5) are the other Iowa players averaging double figures.
Kenpom has the Hawkeyes as the 24th ranked team in the nation. The offense is impressive at 7th in the nation in offense, but only 88th in defense. Iowa ranks 3rd in the nation with a 63.7% assist to field goal ratio.
Illinois Happy To Be Dancing
While the Illini had their eyes on a Big Ten title they are happy to be headed back the NCAA tournament. Illinois hasn't played in the NCAA tournament since 2013. Wisconsin's win yesterday assured that Illinois couldn't win the Big Ten championship.
Dosunmu leads the team in scoring (16.6) and assists (3.2). Cockburn leads the team in rebounding (8.8) and blocks (1.4). Cockburn (13.4) and Feliz (10.9) are both averaging double figures for Illinois.
The Fighting Illini are ranked 29th by Kenpom. The offense is 43rd in efficiency and the defense is 30th. This game could come down to a battle on the boards, and the Illini are ranked 9th in the nation in offensive rebounding percentage.
Mybookie has Illinois as a 3,5-point favorite. The total is set at 148.5 points.
Free Betting Pick
Iowa had their worst rebounding performance of the year against Purdue. Illinois has been really good on the offensive glass and if you give them multiple chances they should be able to take this game and the all important four seed in the Big Ten tournament. While I think the Illini will win, I'm not sure they will cover. The play here is the under, and both teams struggled a offensively in their last game.
Iowa 71, Illinois 74