The Penn State Nittany Lions (12-14, 7-11 Big Ten) take on the #20 Illinois Fighting Illini (20-8, 13-5 Big Ten) in a Big Ten Conference mid-week clash. This is the first time these two conference foes are facing each other. Illinois has won the previous three matchups against Penn State.
Wednesday’s contest tips off at 7 p.m. EST inside the State Farm Center in Champaign, IL. The Fighting Illini are a 12.5-point favorite, and the over-under total opened at 134 points.
What to Know – Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State enters the final week of the regular season, having dropped two of its last three conference tests. The Nittany Lions rank 96th in the KenPom and 94th in the NCAA NET rankings.
On offense, Penn State is last in the Big Ten, averaging 65.3 points per game while shooting 43.7% from the field and 34.7% from the arc. The Nittany Lions defense is third in the league, holding teams to 65.7 points per game, 41.5% shooting from the floor, and 35.5% from deep.
After picking up a victory over Northwestern earlier in the week, the Nittany Lions were rolled by the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 93-70, on Sunday at home. The loss was Penn State’s worst conference defeat of the season. Three players chipped in 12 points apiece for the Nittany Lions.
This year, the Nittany Lions are 14-12 against the spread with a 3-6 mark in away games. Penn State has a 7-3 record ATS over its last ten games against Illinois.
What to Know – Illinois Fighting Illini
Two games remain in the conference slate for the Fighting Illini, and the Orange and Blue sit just 1.5 games out of the top spot in the conference order. Illinois ranks 16th in the KenPom and 14th in the NET.
The Fighting Illini are third in the Big Ten, pouring in 76.9 points per game and hitting 46.0% of their shots from the field and 36.9% from the 3-point line. Illinois’ defense limits opponents to 68.0 points per game, 41.3% shooting from the floor, and 32.1% from three.
Kofi Cockburn had 27 points, and Alfonso Plummer added 26, leading the Illini to a 93-85 victory over the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday. Trent Frazier put the game on ice with a made three with under a minute to play to give Illinois a seven-point lead. The Fighting Illini put on an offensive clinic, shooting 56.7% from the floor and nailing 10-of-17 shots from deep.
Illinois has a 13-15 record ATS and is 4-8 over its previous 12 contests. The Fighting Illini have covered the spread in their last three matchups against the Nittany Lions.
The Pick is In
The Nittany Lions are have been flat-out not good away from State College this season with a 1-8 straight-up road record. Illinois is laying a lot of points, but Penn State’s offense hasn’t shown any signs recently of keeping pace with the Illini’s scoring output.
Betting Pick: Illinois Fighting Illini -12.5