NCAA Basketball Picks for Big 10 Action: Maryland/Illinois

Joe Gavazzi

Wednesday, January 7, 2015 4:27 PM GMT

Maryland brings their 2-0 SU ATS conference start to State Farm Arena, We will follow the momentum of those respective starts backed by meaningful current form and a key injury to the Illini. 

Maryland (-2) vs. Illinois 9:00 ET BIG10TV
In the first year of Big 10 action, Maryland brings their 2-0 SU ATS college basketball odds conference start to State Farm Arena, where the Illini have begun 0-2 SU ATS in Big 10 play.  We will follow the momentum of those respective starts backed by meaningful current form and a key injury to the Illini. 

Third year Illinois HC Groce is a disciple of Ohio St. HC Matta.  Though many who have coached under Matta (think Sean Miller at Arizona) have gone on to be successful coaches, there remains a question about the ability of Groce.  True enough, there have been 23 and 20 SU winning seasons in his first 2 years at the helm.  Last year, his Illini were eliminated in the 2nd round of the NIT.  With all 5 starters returning, much was expected from the Illini this year.  A 6-0 SU, 4-1 ATS November appeared to confirm that projection, when Illinois whipped Baylor (62-54).  Since that time, it has been all downhill for the Illini.  They have gone just 4-5 SU, 0-7 ATS with losses of 7 or more points to Miami, FL, Villanova, Oregon and at Michigan and Ohio St. to begin the conference campaign.  Those subpar efforts in league play are not unusual for a Groce coached team.  For, Illinois enters tonight on a run of 18-39 ATS in conference play.  Adding to the problems of this team is the loss of their best player, Drake transfer, Rayvonte Rice, whose injured hand has required surgery and will have him out of the lineup for 4-6 weeks.  Do not be fooled by the 7-0 SU home record of Illinois.  The Illini were favored by 19 or more points in each of those contests. 

Enter a Maryland team, who is on a roll.  They are led by 4th year HC Turgeon.  This is the 30th year of collegiate basketball for Turgeon, who starred as a point guard in the mid-80s at Kansas.  After working his way as an assistant and through jobs in the MVC, Turgeon matriculated to Texas A&M, where he rejuvenated the Aggies’ program (with a pair of 24 win seasons) before landing the Maryland job.  In his 4th year at the helm of the Terps, this is his best team.  Solid returning starters, include Wells, Layman, and Smotryck.  But, the straw that stirs the drink is freshman PG Melo Trimble, who is leading the team in scoring and assists.  To date, the Terps are 14-1 SU with their lone loss coming to undefeated Virginia. Along the way, they are a perfect 4-0 SU ATS away from College Park with wins and covers vs. Arizona St. and Iowa St. with road wins at Oklahoma St. and Michigan St.  The victory at Illinois should come easily tonight so add them to your selection of NCAA Basketball picks.

Free College Basketball Pick: Take Maryland