#5 Illinois vs #23 Wisconsin Road to March Madness | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Any shot that No. 5 Illinois had of winning the Big Ten regular-season title might have been lost when the Illini were upset by Michigan State earlier this week. Illinois is on upset alert again Saturday at No. 23 Wisconsin, which should be a slight home dog on the NCAAB odds. To win the national title, Illinois is +1400 and Wisconsin +4000.

How to Bet Illinois at Wisconsin NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

Last Meeting

On Feb. 6, Wisconsin lost 75-60 at Illinois when the Badgers were ranked No. 19 and the Illini 12th. Kofi Cockburn scored 23 points and Ayo Dosunmu added 21 for Illinois. Dosunmu also had 12 rebounds and 12 assists for only the third triple-double in school history. Cockburn grabbed 14 rebounds. D’Mitrik Trice scored 19 points and Nate Reuvers added 11 for Wisconsin. Illinois outrebounded the Badgers 46-18. The Illini shot 54% (28 of 52) from the field to Wisconsin’s 41% (24 of 58). “The way we had shot it offensively, we almost had to pitch a perfect game defensively,” Badgers coach Greg Gard said.

Why Bet on Illinois? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Illini (16-6) had a seven-game winning streak end in a thud Tuesday, 81-72 at Michigan State. The Spartans led by 10 points, 36-26, at halftime and used a 13-5 run over the first 5:59 of the second half to take a 49-31 lead on a jumper from Aaron Henry at the 14:01 mark. MSU took its biggest lead of the game, 19 points, 56-37, on a jumper from sophomore forward Julius Marble with 11:15 to play.

Michigan State shot 54.2 percent from the floor (32-of-59), including 55.2 percent in the second half (16-of-29). The Spartans committed just eight turnovers, including three in the second half. MSU out-scored Illinois, 38-34, in the paint. Illinois missed its first 12 layup attempts.

“They just punched us in the mouth and we didn’t return,” Illinois senior guard Trent Frazier said.

The Illini were led by Frazier’s 22 points and Ayo Dosunmu’s 17 point and nine rebounds. Kofi Cockburn tallied 13 points and six rebounds, and freshman Andre Curbelo added 12 points on the night for the Illini. Cockburn struggled to get in any kind of rhythm after the 7-foot, 290-pound center missed each of his first two shot attempts and his first pair of free throws.

Frazier has seen his scoring increase recently, averaging 17.0 points while making an average of 2.9 treys on 40.2% 3-point shooting over the last eight games. Along with the increased scoring, Frazier is contending for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors. Frazier leads the league in steals during conference play at 1.7 spg. Curbelo ranks third in the Big Ten in assists during league play at 4.8 apg.

Why Bet on Wisconsin? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Wisconsin (16-8) snapped a two-game skid with a 68-51 win at Northwestern on Sunday. Ryan Young’s three-point play trimmed Wisconsin’s lead to 46-39 with 12:59 left, but the Badgers responded with a 13-1 run. Tyler Wahl capped the decisive stretch with a driving layup and a 3-pointer. Wisconsin enjoyed a 31-15 edge in bench points. It also forced 14 turnovers and had a 35-30 rebounding advantage.

“We’re at our best when we’re balanced,” said UW’s Micah Potter, who credited a recent team meeting for the team’s togetherness on the court. “So we showed what we could do.”

Potter finished with a team-high 19 points on 7-for-8 shooting and a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range. He added 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block and 2 steals. Potter reached double figure points for the 17th time this season. D’Mitrik Trice tallied 13 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. He also became just the 4th player in UW history to accumulate 400 assists.

Brad Davison posted 12 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. He also matched a season high with 3 steals. Davison started his 117th career game, passing Mike Kelley for 4th place on the Badgers all-time list. Only Josh Gasser (144), Ethan Happ (139) and Alando Tucker (126) have more.

UW had 5 players score in double figures for the first time during Big Ten play. The Badgers improved to 10-1 on the season when boasting at least 4 scorers in double figures. Wisconsin is now 11-0 when holding opponents below 60 points. Dating back to last season, the Badgers have won their last 19 games when holding foes under 60.

Expert Prediction

  • Illinois 69, Wisconsin 67


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