Ohio St. Buckeyes vs. Illinois Fighting Illini
The Ohio State Buckeyes look to stay in contention for the Big Ten regular season title as they host the struggling Illinois Fighting Illini on Tuesday. The Buckeyes are -16.5 point favorites over the Fighting Illini with an over/under point total set at 129.
Revenge will be a factor for the Ohio State Buckeyes as Thad Matta’s team looks to redeem themselves from an earlier loss in Champaign but also they are focused in on a season ending match up with Michigan State which could decide a lot when it comes to March madness seeding. OSU is 10-4 in the Big 10, 16-1 at home, and tied for second place in the conference standings with Michigan who they lost to on Saturday. Jared Sullinger is averaging 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds, William Buford is averaging 15 points, and Deshaun Thomas is averaging 14.6 points. As a team Ohio State is averaging 74.9 points and they are shooting 47.8 percent while defensively they are allowing 57.1 points and their opponents are shooting 40.2 percent. Ohio State looks to be up against the same issue they had a year ago where their starters are as good if not better than anyone’s but they don’t have the depth.
The season has turned into an outright collapse for the Illinois Fighting Illini as Bruce Weber’s team has lost five games in a row and eight of their last nine games to all but knock themselves out of the NCAA Tournament. Illinois is 5-9 in the Big 10, 2-6 on the road this season, and they are tied for ninth place in the conference standings. Brandon Paul is averaging 14.9 points and 4.8 rebounds, Meyers Leonard is averaging 12.9 points and 8.0 rebounds, and D.J. Richardson is averaging 12.1 points. As a team Illinois is averaging 66.2 points and they are shooting 44.7 percent while defensively they are allowing 63.4 points and their opponents are shooting 42.3 percent. Weber has had a nice run at Illinois over his tenure but that tenure could end if the Illini don’t find answers soon.
Ohio State is 4-1 against the spread in their last five games following a game which they didn’t cover, 4-0 against the spread following a loss, and 6-2 against the spread in their last eight home games. Illinois is 0-4 against the spread following a loss, 0-5 against the spread in their last five road games, and 0-4 against the spread against a team with a winning record. Illinois is 3-8 against the spread in their last 11 visits at Ohio State.
The total is set at 129 and with these two it shouldn’t be much of an issue and my pick will be the over.