The Boilermakers are getting some points coming into the NCAAB Purdue at Illinois pick. Oddsmakers have set the Fighting Illini as -7.5 favorites at home, as Illinois has looked really good during their two game win streak. Purdue has lost two of their last three, but to a couple of good teams in Iowa and Rutgers. #15 Illinois isn’t too shabby however.
It’s very possible we see Purdue come out with a little extra kick in their step after they were completely embarrassed twice by the Fighting Illini last season, 63-37 in Champaign and 79-62 in West Lafayette. Illinois covered as -1.5 and -6 favorites respectively. Is this just a really bad matchup for the Boilermakers?
Purdue Going with a Youth Movement
The good news for Matt Painter’s team heading into the NCAAB Purdue at Illinois pick is that not many players remember the stresses of the two Illinois beatdowns from a year ago. That is because the Boilermakers have started to integrate 5 freshman into the rotation, something that could be helpful against the fast pace of the Illini.
Purdue’s chances at the upset on Saturday rely with their defense, which ranks 6th in the Big 10 allowing 67.4 ppg. That defense was just exploited in an 81-76 loss at Rutgers on Tuesday as the Scarlet Knights shot 50% from the field even without Ron Harper, Jr.
Rutgers guard Montez Mathis scored 25 points in the win over Purdue, something that doesn’t bode well ahead of a matchup with Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu, who is the 2nd leading scorer in the Big Ten with 24.1 ppg. The Boilermakers have three players averaging in double figures, and 6’10” Trevion Williams is a force coming off a 21/12 performance vs. Rutgers. Both Eric Hunter, Jr. and Sasha Stefanovic have been held to single digits in two of the last three.
Illinois Ripe To Deliver Another Pummeling?
The Fighting Illini have had their trip-up games this season, losing 82-69 to Baylor, 81-78 in the Braggin’ Rights game vs. Missouri, and falling 91-88 at Rutgers. There’s reasons to think that Saturday’s -7.5 line is on the low side though following a 98-81 win at Penn State and beating Indiana 69-60 last Saturday.
There’s just a ton of intangibles favoring a huge Illinois win here, the first of which is Ayo Dosunmu who has gone for 30 points in two straight games. The 7-foot Kofi Cockburn provides a tough inside matchup against Williams, and Illinois is the best rebounding team not just in the Big Ten, but the entire country.
Cockburn had 22 points and 15 boards when these two teams met up late last January, while Dosunmu added 18 points and 11 assists. While that’s definitely a dynamic duo, Illinois is incredibly deep too.
Free NCAAB Purdue at Illinois Pick
It’s definitely been a different atmosphere at the State Farm Center this season, with just 178 people in attendance for Illinois’ win last Saturday over Indiana. The Fighting Illini are the better team here in nearly every area, and want to keep the foot on the gas after Purdue held a 4-game win streak in this series prior to last year’s Illini sweep.
Illinois 78 – Purdue 66
Free Pick: Illinois -7.5