College Basketball 2021 Preview: Iowa @ Illinois

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January 29, 2021 9:39 PM

Throughout this pandemic, there are memories of a former life, or expectations of what should/could have been, that really make you frustrated or sad. Tonight’s no. 7 Iowa at no. 19 Illinois game is right at the top.

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The casual reader of this article might not understand the environment at State Farm Center when the Fighting Illini are cooking, and a big time opponent is on the docket. Add in the fact that these two teams, fanbases, and in some situations, literal state constituents don’t like each other, and you have a unique combustible situation. 

Coming in, both teams have had rather long layoffs, Iowa not playing in eight days after a loss to Indiana, and Illinois 10, after having a potential game cancelled against Michigan State. So in a very strange season, it would usually be tough to predict the sharpness and energy of both teams. But in this matchup, I’m predicting blood right off the jump. If there were odds for a timeout at the monitor to sort out a scuffle, you’d want the scuffle side of the prop. But because only straight lines are in play, Illinois is now favored by 2.5 points, and the o/u sits at a juicy 161.5. 

As this year has progressed, both teams have been expectedly finely tuned on offense, and the spurtability of either is insane. When Iowa has been slowed down, it’s typically from their own doing, and a slow night from 3. Illinois has been bothered by length, and early defensive attention to keep Kofi Cockburn from getting low position and Ayo Dosunmu into playing a halfcourt game. I don’t expect either, because I think both teams are going to want to size each other up and run. 

Luke Garza is going to get his, as his personal o/u is 26.5. And it’s tough to predict whether the rest of the guys will be hitting from 3, thus a really hard game spread to call for Iowa. But, what I do like, and referenced way earlier in this excited diatribe, is this one is going over 161.5. Both teams are too talented offensively, and at most times, too poor or uninterested defensively to play a game in the 60’s or 70’s.

πŸ’° Ian's Pick: Over 161.5 total points

DimersBOT's predicted score ⏬‍‍

 

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