The Fighting Illini are in an interesting spot coming into the February 2nd Illinois at Indiana matchup. Brad Underwood’s team is riding high after an 80-75 win over #8 Iowa on Friday as -3 point home favorites, but they need to avoid deflating on the road in Bloomington.
Indiana is in the awkward position of having not played since January 24th due to COVID postponements. Illinois had 10 days of prior to their win over the Hawkeyes, so Indiana likes the spot they are in. Plus, the extra time may allow the Hoosiers to get a couple key components back in the lineup. Oddsmakers have #12 Illinois as a -2.5 favorite in this matchup.
Illini Ready to Get Rolling?
The Fighting Illini have bounced back nicely from consecutive losses to Maryland and Ohio State. The Illini come into the February 2nd Illinois at Indiana matchup on a 2-game win streak, toppling Penn State and Iowa while posting 79+ points in three straight.
The Illini showed their depth in last Friday’s win, getting a back-breaking 24 points from Trent Frazier to go along with another superb effort from Ayo Dosunmu, who had 25. Illinois did about as good of a job as you can against Iowa’s Luka Garza, holding the Big Ten’s leading scorer to 19 points. That’s a key factor when going up against Trayce Jackson-Davis, who is 3rd in the conference in ppg.
Dosunmu was great in Illinois’ 69-60 win over the Hoosiers on December 26th, pumping in 30 points for the second straight game. Big man Kofi Cockburn was also huge in that game, scoring 15 while also grabbing 15 rebounds. That’s a microcosm of how the rematch will likely go down, the Illini are tops in rebounding in the Big Ten, while the Hoosiers are 4th worst.
Indiana Coming Off a Layoff
There are a lot of questions surrounding the Hoosiers if they want to keep their home winning streak going vs. Illinois, who hasn’t won in Bloomington since 2010. First off it’s how the team will respond after having not played in 9 days due to COVID pauses.
The other uncertainty for the Hoosiers is who they’ll have available to play. Trey Galloway logs 23 minutes on average of the bench, but has missed the last two games with a back injury. Armaan Franklin puts up 12.8 ppg, but injured his ankle vs. Rutgers the last time IU took the court. The longer pause may actually help in Franklin taking the court on Tuesday. Franklin had 23 in the 1st meeting ith Illinois.
Of course the Hoosiers still have Jackson-Davis, but he was held to 11 points in the first matchup with Illinois. Jackson-Davis has 21+ points in five of the last seven.
Free February 2nd Illinois at Indiana Pick
The losing streak in Bloomington is a concern for the Fighting Illini, but Illinois still has great value if Indiana is indeed a bit shorthanded on Tuesday night. Illinois’ rebounding edge is a huge advantage in this one, as is Dosunmu, who said he “played a mind game” with Indiana in the first game.
Illinois 76 – Indiana 70
Free Pick: Illinois -2.5