#11 Wisconsin vs #18 Illinois NCAA Basketball Betting Preview

#11 Wisconsin vs #18 Illinois | NCAA Basketball Betting Preview

The game of the night in college basketball Wednesday is a potential Big Ten title game preview as No. 11 Wisconsin visits No. 18 Illinois. The Illini are 6.5-point favorites on the NCAAB odds.

How to Bet Wisconsin at Illinois NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

  • When: Wednesday, 9 PM ET
  • Where: State Farm Center
  • TV: Big Ten Network
  • Stream: BTN+
  • Radio: Tunein.com
  • Opening NCAAB Lines: Illinois -6.5 (total 140)

Last Meeting

This is their lone scheduled meeting this season. Last year, the Illini won both. The one in Illinois was a 75-60 victory. Kofi Cockburn scored 23 points and Ayo Dosunmu added 21. Dosunmu also had 12 rebounds and 12 assists for only the third triple-double in school history. Cockburn grabbed 14 rebounds. Dosunmu is now in the NBA but Cockburn is still with Illinois. D’Mitrik Trice scored 19 points and Nate Reuvers added 11 for Wisconsin. Illinois outrebounded the Badgers 46-18. The Illini shot 54% (28 of 52) from the field to Wisconsin’s 41% (24 of 58).

The Illini lead the all-time series, 113-90, including 69-28 in Champaign.

Why Bet on Wisconsin?

Wisconsin (17-3) escaped at home vs. Minnesota on Sunday, 66-60. Minnesota trailed by nine early in the second half before rallying behind Payton Willis, who scored 15 of his 17 points after halftime. The Gophers tied the game at 60-all on a pair of E.J. Stephens free throws with 2:23 left. However, superstar Johnny Davis put Wisconsin ahead for good by making a driving layup with 2:10 remaining.

“I was just thinking of getting a bucket at all costs,” said Davis, whose season scoring average dropped to 21.4. “At that point in the game, every bucket’s crucial. So I just made sure I delivered.”

Davis finished with 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, the first 15-15 performance by a Badger since Ethan Happ had 22 points and 15 boards vs. Virginia on Nov. 23, 2018. Davis has scored in double figures in all 18 games he has played this season, and has topped the 15-point mark in 16 of those contests. Davis scored the game’s final 6 points. He is the only Big Ten player to lead his team in ppg (21.4), rpg (7.9) and apg (2.5).

Senior Brad Davison started his 144th career game, matching Josh Gasser (2011-15) for the most starts in Wisconsin history. Davison connected on 4 3-pointers, his 3rd consecutive game — and 7th game overall on the season — with at least 4 made triples. Davison is 15-for-27 (55.6%) from 3-point range over those last 3 games. He has connected on 45.6% of his 3-point attempts in Big Ten play, ranking 2nd in the league to Rutgers’ Ron Harper Jr. (50.0%).

The Badgers are off to their best start to a season since the 2016-17 team opened with a record of 21-3. They are 8-2 in the Big Ten, the team’s best start to conference play since opening the 2016-17 season with a mark of 10-1 in the league.

The Badgers are 10-1 in games decided by 6 or fewer points, most “close” wins in Division I. Wisconsin is averaging 72.4 ppg, which would be the team’s highest mark since 2013-14. UW is averaging 76.4 ppg over the last 10 games, topping 70 in 9 of 10 games.

Why Bet on Illinois?

The Illini (15-5) won at Northwestern 59-56 on Saturday. Kofi Cockburn returned from a concussion and scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds Cockburn was effective, hitting 10 of 17 shots, but his teammates combined for a dismal 12-of-34 shooting clip, allowing the Wildcats to hang around despite going 20 of 56 from the field and 6 of 18 from 3-point range. Cockburn had missed the previous two games.

He is among the national leaders in points and rebounds, scoring 21.1 ppg and getting 11.6 rpg.  Cockburn remains the only player in the country averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds on the season.

The Wildcats worked their way to a six-point cushion on Elyjah Williams’ three-point play with 8:09 to play, but Illinois turned to Cockburn down the stretch and he scored 14 points in the second half, going 6 of 9 from the field. Both RJ Melendez and Brandin Podziemski were also instrumental in Illinois’ late game comeback.

While Melendez made more plays off the ball, holding strong defensively and grabbing three rebounds, Podziemski made a layup and a three in crunch time to stop Northwestern’s momentum. Illinois’ defense held Northwestern to season lows in points (56) and field goals (20). Illinois outrebounded Northwestern, 36-30. The Illini have outrebounded 15 of 20 opponents.

Starting guard Andre Curbelo remained sidelined and is questionable for this one. Curbelo is averaging 10.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Illinois has had nine different starting lineups, the most among high-major conference teams.

Illinois is 22-3 in its last 25 games versus league foes.

Expert Prediction

  • Illinois 66, Wisconsin 64
 
 

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