Neither No. 22 Ohio State nor No. 15 Illinois has any concerns about reaching the NCAA Tournament, but both are playing for a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament when they meet Thursday with the Illini as home favorites on the NCAAB odds.
How to Bet Ohio State at Illinois NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info
- When: Thursday, 9 PM ET
- Where: State Farm Center
- TV: Fox Sports 1
- Stream: Fox Sports Go
- Radio: Tunein.com
- Opening NCAAB Lines: Illinois -6 (total 139)
This is the lone scheduled meeting of the season. Illinois won two of three last year including in the Big Ten title game. The game in Champaign was an 87-81 Buckeyes victory. Illinois closed to 83-81 with 15.5 seconds left on a long 3-pointer. On the Buckeyes’ inbound pass, replays showed Dune Washington clearly stepped out of bounds with the ball. But a foul was called on Trent Frazier and Washington sank both free throws to make it 85-81. Current OSU star E.J. Liddell scored 26 points. Ayo Dosunmu led Illinois with 22 points but is now with the Chicago Bulls.
Illinois leads the series 108-80 but the Buckeyes have won three of the last four meetings in Champaign.
Why Bet on Ohio State?
The Buckeyes (17-7) beat Indiana 80-69 in overtime on Monday – not often you see a double-digit OT win. Indiana led by four with 2:47 to go in regulation, but E.J. Liddell forced a steal with 1:11 remaining and slammed home the tying dunk with six seconds left.
“We played as well as we could play it,” Indiana coach Mike Woodson said. “We lost our man Liddell at the rim. He was able to dunk it and send it to overtime. That’s probably the biggest possession of the game.”
Freshman Malaki Branham scored 17 of his game-high 27 points in the second half and overtime to lead the Buckeyes. He was 9-of-13 from the floor and 8-of-8 from the foul line. He also led the team with three assists, none bigger than finding Liddell under the hoop for the dunk with six seconds left to tie the game. Liddell finished with 16 points and a team-high seven rebounds. In addition to his game-tying bucket, he knocked-down a jumper at the end of the shot clock with 2:00 left in overtime that sparked a 10-0 Buckeye run to finish the game. The Buckeyes have won both of their overtime games this season after losing their last two OT games last season.
Liddell is fourth in the conference in scoring at 19.5 and recently moved into 10th in school history in career blocks with 120. He is averaging 2.5 blocks this season which is tops in the conference. Branham has averaged 17 points per game over the last five games and is shooting 66.7 percent from the floor. He has four games of 20 or more points this season.
Why Bet on Illinois?
Illinois (19-7) kept its Big Ten title hopes alive with a 79-74 win at then-No. 19 Michigan State on Saturday. The Illini never trailed. The Spartans rallied down the stretch, cutting the lead to two points several times in the final two minutes, before Trent Frazier made a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left to put the game out of reach. Coach Brad Underwood defeated Tom Izzo’s Spartans in East Lansing for the first time.
While Frazier came up big in the second half with 12 points, Kofi Cockburn and Jacob Grandison led Illinois’ offensive attack against the Spartans. Grandison made six three-pointers — tallying a season-high 24 points — while dishing out five assists and grabbing five boards. Cockburn led all scorers with 27 points on 67% shooting. Cockburn neared another double-double with nine rebounds, five of which were offensive boards.
The Spartans shot better from the field than the Illini, but Illinois’ paint presence made the difference. The Illini scored 32 points down low and their 14 offensive rebounds led to 19 points.
Cockburn became the first player to go for 27+/9+ at Breslin Center since 2010, when Eastern Michigan’s Brandon Bowdry had 32 points and 15 rebounds. Cockburn the only player in the country averaging at least 21 points and 10 rebounds this season. Despite missing five games, Cockburn still ranks eighth in the NCAA in double-doubles this season with 14.
The win over Michigan State improved the Illini to 3-3 versus ranked opponents this season. Illinois has now won 10 of its last 14 games against top 25 teams. Illinois has now won at least 12 Big Ten games in three straight years for just the third time in school history, joining the 1951-53 and 1987-89 stretches.
Illinois is first in defensive efficiency (98.0) in Big Ten play with its defense ranking first in effective field goal percentage (.455) and second in both 2-point percentage (.449) and 3-point percentage (.315).
- Illinois 76, Ohio State 74