The Rutgers Scarlet Knights (13-17, 3-14 Big 10) and Illinois Fighting Illini (13-17, 3-14 Big 10) will square off at Louis Brown Athletic Center to close out the regular season. The games Over/Under (O/U) opened at 135 points with Rutgers set as a 1-point favorite. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 25, 2018.
Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights Free Preview
In the Fighting Illini’s last contest, they lost to the No. 9 Purdue Boilermakers, 93-86. Leron Black had a good performance for Illinois, leading the team in scoring with 28 points on 12-for-25 shooting. Purdue did a fantastic job of making free throws (26-31; 83.9 percent). Illinois, meanwhile, had a turnover percentage of 7.9 (better than their season average of 16.5).
The Scarlet Knights are trying to rebound after their 79-52 loss to the No. 16 Ohio State Buckeyes in their last outing. Corey Sanders led Rutgers in scoring with 12 points on 6-for-15 shooting. Ohio State had an effective field goal percentage of 0.670 (above their season average of 0.542). Rutgers, meanwhile, had a better free throw rate (0.111 vs. 0.071).
When looking at effective field goal percentage, Rutgers should have a substantial edge. The Scarlet Knights defense ranks 35th in effective field goal percentage allowed (0.471), while the Illinois offense is ranked 253rd in effective field goal percentage (0.495).
Games featuring these teams tend to go under the O/U total. Illinois games have gone under 57.7 percent of the time, while 59.1 percent of Rutgers games have finished under. Both teams have mediocre straight up (SU) records (13-17 for Illinois; 13-17 for Rutgers), but the Fighting Illini hold a slight edge against the spread (ATS). Illinois is 12-14 ATS, while the Scarlet Knights are 11-10-1.
Black has been playing at a high level over the last five games for Illinois, averaging 19.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
These teams have already met once this season. The two teams combined for 151 points in that game, which was well over the projected point total of 133. The Fighting Illini won 91-60, covering as 7-point favorites. The Fighting Illini played a nearly perfect game. They had a turnover percentage of 20.4 and an absurd effective field goal percentage of 0.664. For those same stats, the Scarlet Knights put up marks of 31.0 and 0.478, respectively. Kipper Nichols was the games leading scorer with 19 points.
Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights Free Prediction
College Basketball Pick: SU Winner – Rutgers, ATS Winner – Illinois, O/U – Under
- The Fighting Illini rank 147th in assists per game (13.6) while the Scarlet Knights rank 279th (10.0).
- Rutgers averages 7.3 steals per game, which ranks 52nd in the nation. Illinois ranks 140th in steals allowed per game (6.4).
- Rutgers is 9-3-1 ATS at home, while Illinois is 5-7 ATS on the road.
- The total has gone under in 8 of the Scarlet Knights 13 home games, while 9 of the Fighting Illini’s 12 road games have gone under.
- Rutgers ranks 28th in rebounds per game (39.1) while Illinois ranks 238th (33.3).
- The Scarlet Knights rank 51st in blocks per game (4.2) while the Fighting Illini rank 204th in blocks allowed per game (4.8).
- Illinois ranks 152nd in three pointers attempted per game (21.8) while Rutgers ranks 297th (15.2).
- Rutgers is 2-3 ATS with 3 unders and 2 overs in their last five games.
- Over their last five games, Illinois is 2-3 ATS with 3 unders and 2 overs.
- The Scarlet Knights have been outscored by an average of 12.4 points in their last five games. For the season, Rutgers has defeated opponents by an average of 0.5 points.
- During their last five games, the Fighting Illini have scored an average of 67.8 points per game (7.7 below their season average) and allowed an average of 78.4 points per game (4.9 above their season average).