The Iowa Hawkeyes (13-18, 4-14 Big 10) and the Illinois Fighting Illini (14-17, 4-14 Big 10) clash in the Big Ten Tourney at Madison Square Garden. The game’s Over/Under (O/U) opened at 160.5 points with Illinois set as a 1-point favorite. Action gets underway at 5:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, February 28, 2018.
Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Free Preview
The Fighting Illini defeated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in their last game, 75-62. Michael Finke was the top scorer from either team with 19 points on 6-for-10 shooting. Illinois dominated nearly every facet of the game. They had a turnover percentage of 15.3 (better than their season average of 16.2) and an effective field goal percentage of 0.559 (above their season average of 0.495). Rutgers was 21.7 and 0.466, respectively, for those same stats.
In the Hawkeyes’ last game, they topped the Northwestern Wildcats, 77-70. Iowa rallied around Jordan Bohannon, who led the team in scoring with 25 points on 7-for-14 shooting. Iowa dominated nearly every stat category in the game. They had a solid free throw rate of 0.288 (above their season average of 0.236) and an offensive rebounding percentage of 45.9 (above their season average of 33.6). Northwestern was 0.052 and 27.3, respectively, for those same stats.
The offensive glass should be a huge edge for Iowa in this battle. The Hawkeyes are among the nation’s elite on the offensive glass, ranking 37th in offensive rebounding percentage at 34.0 percent. Meanwhile, Illinois ranks 270th in the NCAA at corralling defensive rebounds with a defensive rebounding percentage of 69.3 percent.
In terms of the O/U total, these teams are complete opposites. Illinois games have gone under 55.6 percent of the time, while games featuring Iowa have gone over 66.7 percent of the time. Both teams have mediocre straight up (SU) records (14-17 for Illinois; 13-18 for Iowa), but the Fighting Illini have the advantage against the spread (ATS). Illinois is 13-14 ATS, while the Hawkeyes are 10-15-2.
Leron Black has taken his game to another level over the last five games for Illinois, averaging 22.8 points per game.
These teams have already met once this season. The two teams combined for 201 points in that game, which was well over the projected point total of 154. The Hawkeyes won 104-97, covering as 5-point underdogs. Iowa made good use of their 40 trips to the charity stripe, making 33 of them (82.5 percent). Illinois, meanwhile, was 11-14 (78.6 percent). Tyler Cook recorded a double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Betting Prediction
Free Basketball Tip: SU Winner – Iowa, ATS Winner – Iowa, O/U – Over
- The Fighting Illini rank 37th in steals per game (7.5) while the Hawkeyes rank 192nd in steals allowed per game (7.0).
- Iowa averages 4.2 blocks per game, which ranks 53rd in the nation. Illinois ranks 197th in blocks allowed per game (4.7).
- Iowa ranks 62nd in rebounds per game (37.9) while Illinois ranks 238th (33.3).
- The Fighting Illini rank 95th in assists allowed per game (12.7) while the Hawkeyes rank 261st (16.2).
- Illinois ranks 19th in three pointers allowed per game (18.3) while Iowa ranks 184th (22.8).
- Iowa is 1-4 ATS with 3 overs and 2 unders in their last five games.
- Over their last five games, Illinois is 3-2 ATS with 3 overs and 2 unders.
- The Hawkeyes have been outscored by an average of 6.4 points in their last five games. On the season, Iowa has defeated opponents by an average of 1.0 point.
- During their last five games, the Fighting Illini have scored an average of 72.4 points per game (3.1 below their season average) and allowed an average of 76.0 points per game (2.9 above their season average).