Sharp Shooting Makes Illinois Our NCAA Basketball Pick Against Maryland

Charles Stark

Thursday, March 3, 2016 2:45 PM GMT

Thursday, Mar. 3, 2016 2:45 PM GMT

As the season starts to wind down heading into March Nadness we head to the Big Ten where Maryland is a really solid home favorite over Illinois. See my NCAA Basketball picks for this game. 

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Maryland Terrapins
NCAA basketball odds makers have come out making Maryland a solid -15 home favorite like at BetOnline -110. For one of my March Madness picks I am going to back Illinois getting the points. Although it is safe to say Maryland wins this game, this is just too many points against a decent Illini team against a Maryland team that goes at a pretty slow pace.

 

Illinois Fighting Illini
Illinois averages 72.7 points per game with four players averaging double figures and make 8.3 three pointers per game. They have had a few bad losses this season to teams in the top part of the league like Michigan State and Indiana. However they have been somewhat competitive with the rest of the Big Ten despite their poor record. Against teams that push tempo like those two teams as well as Iowa Illinois has struggled to stay in the game but against teams that don’t push the pace a ton they have found a way to battle. 

On the defensive side they have been a wreck and are one of the worst defenses in the Big Tem. However, offensively they have some scorers and I believe they will be able to put up enough tonight against a Maryland team that can get lackadaisical at times and has only two blow outs total this year versus Rutgers and Ohio State.

 

Maryland Terrapins
Maryland averages 75.6 points per game and ranks eighth and ninth in the country in shooting efficiency and two point shooting percentage respectively. They have struggled a bit recently losing three of their last four games to Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Purdue but this team has the type of make up to probably make some noise in March. They have not been defending well beyond the perimeter recently but their overall statistics are in the top part of the country on this side of the ball. 

Their opponents overall shooting percentage from the inside out ranks among the best in the Big Ten and they rank 15th in the country in opponent shooting efficiency. With this being their last home game of the year and with Big Ten champion Indiana coming up next there might be a little lack of focus by the Terrapins. Add in the fact they go at one of the slowest tempo’s in the nation averaging just 54.4 shots per game which ranks them close to the bottom of all NCAA teams, we can anticipate Illinois hanging in within the number in tonight's matchup. 

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Illinois +14
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

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