Take Northwestern Over Illinois for College Basketball Picks

Joe Gavazzi

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 6:22 PM GMT

Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015 6:22 PM GMT

BIG10TV at 9:00 ET tonight to watch the visiting Illini take on in-state and Big 10 rival, Northwestern.  Each team enters off a loss with 6 losses for the season and just 1 win in Big 10 play.

Illinois (-2) vs. Northwestern 9:00 ET BIG10TV

You can tune into BIG10TV at 9:00 ET tonight to watch the visiting Illini take on in-state and Big 10 rival, Northwestern.  Each team enters off a loss with 6 losses for the season and just 1 win in Big 10 play.  There the similarities end as I see definitive edges for the home team tonight. 

Much was expected of Illinois this season as they have 5 returning starters in the fold, following a 20 win season of last year and 2ndround NIT appearance.  They would be led by Ravonte Rice, a Drake transfer, who averaged 16 PPG and 6 RPG last year.  As a 5thyear senior, Rice was the No. 4 returning scorer in the Big 10 from last season.  The Illini finished non-con play at 10-3 SU.  Though they began the Big 10 season 0-2 SU ATS with losses by 8 at Michigan and 16 at Ohio St. that was not the worst news!  For, it was at that time that Rice who was again leading the team in scoring, injured his hand and is now out 4 to 6 weeks following surgery. Predictably, the Illini banded together for a huge effort at home vs. highly regarded Maryland.  It resulted in a 64-57 home win vs. the Terps.  Just as predictably, the flat spot ensued in their Sunday meeting at Nebraska.  With little offensive continuity, the Illini dropped a 53-43 road decision, bringing their record to 0-4 SU ATS in road games with every loss by 8 or more points.  This type of performance in Big 10 play is not unusual under 3rd year HC Groce.  For once the bell rings for league action, the Illini are 19-40 ATS in conference play under Groce.  Do not expect their fortunes to improve on the road today against in their in-state league rival. 

Cash out more plays, visit SBR's NCAA Basketball Picks of the Day: ATS & SU 

Northwestern is led by 2nd year Chris Collins, the son of NBA player, Doug Collins.   Chris is a former Duke player and long-time Duke Asst. beside Coach K.   With 4 RS from his 14 win team of last season, the Wildcats have built on the fundamentals that Collins coaches to enter today’s play at 10-6 SU.  Though they are just 1-2 SU in Big 10 play, they do have a victory at Rutgers (who just beat Wisconsin).  Losses are to Wisconsin and on Sunday to Michigan St.  As 14 point road dog at East Lansing, they gave the Spartans all they could handle before losing an OT decision (84-77).   In that game, the Wildcats were 12 of 25 from behind the arc.  The strength of this team is in the backcourt.  With a trio of guards in Trey Demps, Cobb and frosh McIntosh all averaging 12 PPG, 7 footer Olah patrols the interior, averaging 10 points, 7 boards and nearly 2 blocks per game.  The Northwestern improvement has been reflected in recent pointspread success, which sees the Wildcats enter today’s contest on college basketball odds at a 6-2 ATS run. 

Take the improved Northwestern team with your college basketball picks at this value home dog price against a fading Illini team, who will continue their lack of road ability without star player Rice.  Last year as home dog, Northwestern won this matchup outright (49-43).  In a game where the total is just 123 points, expect another low scoring game that is won by the host again this year.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Take Northwestern

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