Free College Basketball Picks Today: Illinois Fighting Illini vs Northwestern Wildcats 2/23/23

Free College Basketball Picks Today: Illinois Fighting Illini vs Northwestern Wildcats 2/23/23
Thu 23rd February 2023

It figures to be a low-scoring affair when the Illinois Fighting Illini (18-9, 9-7 Big 10) play host to the No. 21 Northwestern Wildcats (20-7, 11-5 Big 10) on Thursday.

Northwestern dominated the Iowa Hawkeyes 80-60 at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Sunday, their fifth win in a row. Boo Buie was the key player with 23 points and eight assists. The Wildcats remain second in the Big Ten Conference.

Illinois won their fourth straight home game on Monday at State Farm Center, beating the Minnesota Golden Gophers 78-69. Matthew Mayer had 22 points and seven rebounds to lead the team. The Fighting Illini are fourth in the Big Ten Conference.

This is the last meeting of the season between the teams. Northwestern will be looking for a season sweep against Illinois after taking the only previous game 73-60 at Welsh-Ryan Arena on January 4. Chase Audige led the Wildcats with 21 points. Mayer had 17 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks in the losing effort.

The Wildcats have been led this season by Buie and Audige, who are averaging 17.0 and 14.8 points per game, respectively. Buie also has dished 4.6 assists per game. Meanwhile, Matthew Nicholson is grabbing 5.6 rebounds per game.

Terrence Shannon Jr.’s 15.7 points per game have powered the Fighting Illini on offense. Coleman Hawkins is tallying 6.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. The Fighting Illini and the Wildcats are two of the top defenses in the nation, ranking 27th and 28th in defensive efficiency, respectively.

In the last 10 games, Northwestern is 8-2 with an average margin of +4.1 (67.7-63.6). Illinois has a 6-4 record over the last 10, scoring 72.0 points per game on average while allowing 68.1 (+3.9 margin).


(Last Five | Season Average | Differential)
Points + Rebounds + Assists:
Julian Roper II: 0.0 | 5.3 | -5.3
Points per game:
Brooks Barnhizer: 9.4 | 6.4 | +3.0
Robbie Beran: 6.0 | 8.2 | -2.2
Rebounds per game:
Matthew Nicholson: 3.2 | 5.6 | -2.4


(Last Five | Season Average | Differential)
Points + Rebounds + Assists:
Matthew Mayer: 26.0 | 19.0 | +7.0
Terrence Shannon Jr.: 12.2 | 23.1 | -10.9
Points per game:
Matthew Mayer: 17.2 | 12.6 | +4.6
Terrence Shannon Jr.: 9.2 | 15.7 | -6.5
Rebounds per game:
Matthew Mayer: 7.0 | 5.3 | +1.7
Assists per game:
Terrence Shannon Jr.: 1.2 | 2.8 | -1.6

SportsTips’ College Basketball Pick:

Illinois -5.5 (-110)

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*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of BetMGM.

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