Illinois vs Nebraska
Only one team from the AP Top 25 Poll will take the floor Friday, as the #6 Illinois Fighting Illini visit the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.
These two Big Ten Conference foes will meet each other for the first time this season, and the Fighting Illini will search for their third straight victory over the Cornhuskers.
Illinois is tied with Ohio State for the second spot in the Big Ten, just half a game behind Michigan. The Fighting Illini are riding a four-game winning streak, coming off a terrific 75-60 home victory over the #19 Wisconsin Badgers this past Saturday.
On the other side, the Cornhuskers are coming off a 61-48 defeat to the #21 Wisconsin Badgers this past Wednesday, extending their losing streak to eight games. Nebraska canceled four games in January due to the COVID-19 issues, and the Cornhuskers are winless since December 17, 2020, when they outlasted the Doane Tigers.
The visitors opened as massive 14.5-point favorites and everything but their comfortable victory would be a huge surprise. The Cornhuskers are arguably the weakest team in the Big Ten Conference, sitting bottom of the standings with a 0-8 record in the conference play and 4-11 overall.
Nebraska loves to play at a fast pace, averaging 72.4 possessions per 40 minutes (26th in the country). However, the Huskers score only 101.2 points per 100 possessions (190th) on a horrible 40.9% shooting from the field (306th), 30.9% from downtown (290th), and 63.1% at the free-throw line (331st).
They surrender 96.9 points per 100 possessions (83rd), and the Cornhuskers will struggle to cope with Illinois all night long on both sides of the floor. The Fighting Illini records 70.4 possessions per 40 minutes (79th) while scoring 117.5 points per 100 possessions (8th) and yielding 90.1 in a return (12th).
Furthermore, the Fighting Illini make 50.3% of their field goals (12th) and 39.3% of their 3-pointers. They can count on a couple of tremendous players, as junior guard Ayo Dosunmu (21.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 5.1 APG) and sophomore center Kofi Cockburn (17.2 PPG, 10.4 RPG) make one of the most dominant duos in college basketball.
— Illinois Basketball (@IlliniMBB) February 11, 2021
Even if their bench players get big minutes in Lincoln, the Fighting Illini shouldn’t have any problems covering a huge spread. Illinois is 8-2 SU and ATS in its last ten games overall and 6-3 SU and ATS in its previous nine outings on the road.
Also, the Fighting Illini are 6-4-1 ATS in their last 11 showings as double-digit favorites, while Nebraska is only 2-7 ATS in its previous nine games when listed as an underdog of 11 or more points. The Cornhuskers are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games overall and 2-4 ATS in their last six encounters with Illinois.
College basketball pick – Illinois by 15.
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