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Ohio State vs. Illinois February 24 Big Ten Basketball Betting Preview
No. 22 Ohio State will travel to Champaign to take on No. 15 Illinois at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday night in a marquee Big Ten matchup. Ohio State is coming off a big overtime win against Indiana their last time out in an 80-69 contest. Illinois edged out Michigan State on Saturday by a score of 79-74 to get them back on the right track after losing to Rutgers in their previous matchup.
Both the Buckeyes and Illini are on one game-winning streaks and looking to build on their resume before March is upon us. With only a few games left, this is one of the last chances for both teams to earn a marquee Big Ten win before the conference tournaments.
Let’s look ahead at this Thursday night showdown between two Top 25 teams.
Big Ten Conference Standings
Illinois and Ohio State are neck and neck in the Big Ten standings with Illinois ba rely edging out the Buckeyes with a 12-4 conference record compared to the Buckeyes 10-5 record who sit in fourth. Purdue (13-4) and Wisconsin (12-4) sit above these two teams, but with very few games separating these teams, the conference is up for grabs.
With that being said, the top of the table is not the only part of the conference in close contention. Closely behind the Buckeyes, sit Rutgers at 10-6 and Michigan State at 9-6. These teams will be attempting to crawl their way to the top of the conference in these last few games.
Behind the Numbers
There is nothing super incredible about this Buckeyes team besides the constant production from NBA prospect EJ Liddell. They don’t have the “wow” factor but play efficient basketball on the offensive end to make their minimal possessions count and do well enough on defense to win games.
Notably, on offense, they rank 19th in overall shooting percentage, 27th in three-point percentage, and 45th in average score margin. Their best stats on defense include ranking 29th in opponent two-point percentage,35th in opponent effective field goal percentage, and 75th in opponent assists per game.
For the Illini, they excel on the boards and defending in the paint, which are two things that the Buckeyes struggle in due to their lack of size. Kofi Cockburn is averaging better than a double-double and is leading the team with 21.7 points and 11.2 rebounds on 60.8% shooting.
On the offensive end, Illinois ranks 13th in total rebounds per game with 39.7 rebound per game, 26th in three-pointers made per game at 9.2 made per game, and 27th in score margin at +9.3. Defensively, they hold opponents to 45.3% for effective field goal percentage(18th), give up 10.2 assists per game (19th), and limit opponents to 67.2% for defensive rebound percentage (24th).
Odds and Prediction
Illinois will hold a slight 4–5-point advantage against the Buckeyes as they should be the higher-ranked team playing in front of their home crowd. I am predicting an upset by the Buckeyes to not only cover but win, as well.
Be sure to follow betJACK on Instagram for all of the latest as the NCAA approaches conference championship week and March Madness
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