The Big Ten Conference is once again going to be one of the best leagues in the sport of college basketball, but it’s top heavy. Two of the best teams in the league will meet up on Friday night as the Illinois Fighting Illini visit the Purdue Boilermakers.
Illinois is coming into this game with a 2-0 record in Big Ten Conference play, and they are 11-2 overall. The Fighting Illini have also won four straight games, including a 96-66 win over Northwestern in their most recent game.
Purdue is the number one team in the country against this season, and they are sitting at 13-1 so far this season. The Boilermakers have rattled off six straight wins, and several of those have been in convincing fashion.
The Purdue Boilermakers are coming into this game as a 10.5-point betting favorite in this Big Ten Conference showdown.
Illinois Looking to Run
The Fighting Illini are scoring 83.9 points per game this season, and they are looking to score points in a hurry on offense. Illinois is now playing without Terrence Shannon Jr. and that takes over 21 points per game from the lineup.
Marcus Domask has done much of the heavy lifting on offense in recent games, and he is scoring over 13 points per game. Illinois is shooting nearly 35% from the three-point line, and they can heat up in a hurry.
The defense for Illinois has been the difference so far this season, and it’s one of the best in the country. Illinois doesn’t have a ton of size though, and getting stops in the paint will be a challenge in this one.
Edey Dominating For Boilermakers
The Purdue Boilermakers have a dominant force in Zach Edey, and this team just continues to find ways to play through their star. Edey is currently averaging 23.1 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, and he could be on his way to another Wooden Award.
While much of the focus tends to be on Edey, there are three other Boilermakers starters that are averaging over 10 points per game. Purdue is shooting 38.9 percent from the three-point line, and many of those looks are wide open.
Purdue has been a great defensive team this season as well, but they aren’t as disruptive out front as Illinois. The Boilermakers tend to feed everything to Edey and he can protect the paint in a big way.
Illini Battle Boilermakers in Defeat
There is a reason that these are the two top teams in the Big Ten Conference this season as both teams are loaded with talent. Illinois will be trying to win this game on the perimeter, while Purdue will be attacking in the paint.
The loss of Terrence Shannon Jr. is going to hurt the Illini moving forward, and Illinois will have to win this game on defense. Purdue just has a huge advantage with Zach Edey in the paint, and at some point that will be the difference.
Take the 10.5 points and bet on the Illinois Fighting Illini, but Purdue will survive and pick up a much needed win at home.