The Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-2, 0-0 away) take on the #15 Illinois Fighting Illini (4-2, 3-0 home) in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Monday’s contest will be the first time these two Midwest powers have faced each other since 2018.
Monday’s tipoff is at 9 p.m. EST inside the State Farm Center in Champaign, IL. The Fighting Illini are a 6.5-point favorite, and the over-under total is at 141.5 points.
What to Know – Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame aims to bounce back after suffering a 73-67 loss to Texas A&M in the finale of the Maui Invitational in Las Vegas. Monday night’s contest will be the first true road game of the season for the Irish.
After the first five games of the season, the Irish are averaging 70.8 points per game behind 44.2% shooting from the floor and 32.0% beyond the arc. Notre Dame’s defense is holding opponents to 62.4 points, 41.7% shooting from the floor, and 42.7% from the 3-point line. The Irish rank 40th in the current KenPom rankings.
In their six-point loss to the Aggies, Dane Goodwin led the Irish in scoring, pouring in 18 points. Goodwin was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line in the contest. Prentiss Hubb and Paul Atkinson Jr. chipped in 11 points apiece in the defeat.
The Irish are off to a 1-4 against the spread this year, and the total has gone under in three of Notre Dame’s first five games.
What to Know – Illinois Fighting Illini
The Fighting Illini have bounced back with a pair of victories over the last week after falling in back-to-back contests prior to Thanksgiving. Illinois aims to stay unbeaten at home, where they have a 3-0 mark this season.
Offensively, the Illini score 74.3% points per game while shooting 44.4% from the floor and 33.6% from three. The Illini defense surrenders 64.5 points per game and holds opponents to 39.4% shooting from the field and 29.7% from the arc. KenPom has Illinois ranked 23rd.
Illinois poured in 94 points in Friday night’s victory over UT-Rio Grande Valley. Kofi Cockburn had a career night, scoring a career-high 38 points and grabbing ten rebounds for the Illini. Utah transfer Alfonso Plummer added a season-high 30 points in the nine-point non-conference victory over the Vaqueros.
The Fighting Illini are 1-5 ATS to start the season with a 1-2 mark at home. Illinois is 2-9 straight-up over their last 11 contests against ACC foes.
The Pick is In
The status of some of the Illini’s guards is concerning. Illinois has had trouble this season with turnovers, and missing some of their guards would put the Illini offense at a disadvantage. Notre Dame hasn’t had an actual road test this year, but a Monday night game won’t present a wild crowd in Champaign.
Both of these teams have only picked up one win against the spread this season, and we will side with the Irish getting the points here, given the unknowns of some of the Illinois starters.
Betting Pick: Notre Dame Fighting Irish +6.5