A big-time matchup in Seattle is in store for these top-25 teams.  Take a look to see who will come out on top between these two teams who are competing at the top of their conferences.

Despite losing to some tough teams, don’t overlook either team in this matchup.  NCAAB sportsbooks will likely favor Illinois – who I think should pick up the win – but Gonzaga is certainly dangerous, especially with the home-court advantage.

Sportsbooks currently do not have NCAA Basketball betting odds for this matchup.  Once they are available look for them to show up in this article.

#21 Illinois Fighting Illini (7-1 Overall)

With some important leadership and talent Illinois may just have enough to take care of business in Washington.

Look for further than Demetri McCarney.  He leads the team in both points (15.3) and assists (7.8) per game, hitting 52.3% from the field – including 16-of-31 from 3-point range this season.

Percentages are strong for Illinois.  Not only are they 25th in the country with a 49.7% from the field, four of their top five scorers – at 10 points per game or more – are shooting at least 50%.

In the last game they were favored by six against North Carolina, where they pulled out the victory, 79-67.  The inside-outside tandem of McCarney and Mike Tisdale/Mike Davis was strong, scoring 51 of the team’s points.

With only a loss to now-#20 Texas a couple of weeks ago, look for a strong game for the Illini.

#24 Gonzaga Bulldogs (4-2 Overall)

Losing to #19 San Diego State and #5 Kansas State, Gonzaga will look for an important home win against their third (Sand Diego State was previously Grayunranked) ranked opponent this season.

Expected to be among the top in the West Coast Conference, Gonzaga guard Steven Gray will need a good game for a Bulldogs win.  He is leading the team with 21.7 points, adding 4.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 2.8 steals per game.  He’s also shooting the ball well at 51.8% from the field.

Ranked 23rd in field goal percentages with 49.7% (same as Illinois), Gonzaga is shooting the ball well.  Of the eight players averaging five points or more per game, five are shooting at least 50%.

Coming off of the 86-57 victory over Eastern Washington, the three previous games are worrying.  The two losses with the subsequent three-point victory against Marquette may be a cause for concern – as Gonzaga looks to get things going smoothly with Elias Harris now healthy.


Despite the home-court advantage, I like the leadership and play of the Illini.  With a small spread I’ll take the Big Ten power away from home – though Gonzaga could rally for an upset here.

These teams have high scoring averages per game, so keep a close eye on the total from NCAAB odds makers in what could be a fast-paced matchup.

Look for other college basketball betting previews from SBR.  The NCAAB Handicapping Forum and live odds also are a worthwhile stop to get ready for betting odds.

Who do you think will come out on top?  Will Illinois get the big win on the road or can the Zags make a home stand?