NCAA Basketball Picks: Colorado vs. Illinois

Jeff Grant

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 2:23 PM GMT

Tuesday, Mar. 19, 2013 2:23 PM GMT

The Colorado Buffaloes will be making back-to-back appearances in the NCAA tournament for the first time in 50 years, as they prepare to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini in the East Region.


Let’s take a closer look at the NCAA basketball odds for this Pac-12 versus Big 10 matchup, with Friday’s opening tip scheduled for 4:40 ET at the Erwin Center in Austin, TX.

Groce delivers

Illinois first-year coach John Groce will lead the program to its 30th all-time NCAA appearance, as it looks to improve upon its 22-12 overall record.  He previously led the Ohio Bobcats to appearances in the Big Dance in 2010 and 2012 before arriving in Champaign.

The Fighting Illini compiled a 13-18 against-the-spread (ATS) record, while the UNDER went 17-12.  

Rare accomplishment

Colorado is making a second consecutive trip to this event for the first time in 50 years, which was made possible by winning 10 of its final 14 Pac-12 Conference games to end the regular season.

The Buffaloes were 15-9 straight up (SU) and 15-8-1 ATS when taking on opponents with a winning record, with the UNDER going 7-5 in that situation.

[gameodds]14/225018/92-43-999996-1537/us[/gameodds]

On a neutral floor

College basketball handicappers will find that the Buffaloes are 4-1 SUATS on a neutral floor this year, with the OVER going 3-1 in that particular role.  Colorado was bounced out of the Pac-12 championship in suffering a 79-69 loss as 4.5-point underdogs last Thursday.

The Fighting Illini were knocked out of the Big Ten championship by dropping an 80-64 decision to the Indiana Hoosiers as 10-point underdogs four days ago, while going OVER the posted total of 139.  Illinois is 7-11 SU and 6-12 ATS when playing at a neutral site the last two-plus seasons.

There’s no place like home

Andre Roberson was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, while he’s also managed to average a double-double in scoring 10.9 points and grabbing 11.3 rebounds per game.

The junior forward from San Antonio, TX, showed few effects at the conference tournament of a viral illness that sidelined him for a couple games—making this squad a dangerous underdog when looking over the SBR Odds page.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers play the total as one of their NCAA Basketball picks Friday, as both the Buffaloes and Fighting Illini have gone OVER the total in four of their last five neutral-site games.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 127 at 5Dimes

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