Michigan Wolverines vs. Illinois Fighting Illini
The Illinois Fighting Illini is 3-point favorites over the Michigan Wolverines today in the Big Ten conference tournament quarterfinals.Â The over/under for the game is set at 126. Michigan and Illinois each had a first-round bye on Thursday as the fourth and fifth seed respectively. Both 9-9 teams in the Big Ten are considered on the NCAA tourney bble, with Michigan having more of a risk.
The Michigan Wolverines are 19-12 overall and are 18-8 against the spread have turned their season around after a 1-6 start in the conference.Â They are 8-3 overall and 10-1 against the spread in their last eleven games. Coach John Beilein deserves much of the credit. His team was predicted to finish towards the bottom of the Big Ten after losing leading scorers Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims. The leading returning scorer was Zach Novak with only 7.4 points per game last year. Michigan has a four-guard starting lineup led by sophomore Darius Morris and freshman Tim Hardaway Jr. Hardaway Jr. is the son of the former NBA great and has been sensational the last six games averaging 20.7 points per game. The Wolverines are scoring 66.5 points per game, 10th in the Big Ten. Theyre fourth in scoring defense giving up 62.8 points per game.Â The er is 6-2 in their last eight games.
Illinois is 19-12 overall and 17-14 against the spread.Â The Fighting Illini are 2-3 overall in their last five games with the only wins coming at home against bottom dwellers Indiana and Iowa. The losses came at Purdue, Ohio St. and Michigan St.Â Illinois is just 5-10 away from home this year and are 6-9 against the spread. Senior point guard Demetri McCamey was named third team all-conference. Theres lots of height up front with 7-foot-1 Mike Tisdale and 6-foot-9 Mike Davis and Bill Cole.
Fridays matchup looks like a mismatch inside for Illinois, but it didnt work out that way in the first meeting in Champaign on February 16th.Â Illinois won 54-52 as 9 -point favorites. Davis and Tisdale combined for 20 points and 18 rebounds, but the rebounding advantage overall was just 35-31 Illinois. The game went way der the 130-point total. The der is 4-0 in the last four meetings between the teams. I am going to continue with that streak and take the under in tonights game despite it being such a low total of 126.Â Neither team scores much and in their first game both teams struggled to score 50 points.