The Illinois Fighting Illini and the Penn State Nittany Lions face off on Thursday in Big 12 college basketball action. The Fighting Illini is -15.5 point favorites over the Nittany Lions with an over/under point total set at 132.
The Illinois Fighting Illini looked to be done for the year but they have rallied and have won their last four games in a row and with their record and RPI they appear to be very much in the mix. Illinois is 6-7 in the Big 10, 10-4 at home this season, and they have played the sixth toughest schedule in the nation this year. As a team Illinois is averaging 71.5 points, 10.9 assists, and they are shooting 42.9 percent while defensively they are allowing 65.4 points, 11.9 assists, and their opponents are shooting 42 percent. Brandon Paul is averaging 16.4 points, D.J. Richardson is averaging 12.7 points, and Tracy Abrams is averaging 10.9 points. Illinois has a RPI of 26 so at this point they are very much in control of their own destiny.
The Penn State Nittany Lions are the worst team in the Big Ten this season as they are still looking for their first conference win of the year. PSU is 0-13 in the Big 10, 0-7 on the road this season, but they are coming off of a competitive effort against Michigan. As a team Penn State is averaging 61.2 points, 9.6 assists, and they are shooting 38.6 percent while defensively they are allowing 67.8 points, 12 assists, and their opponents are shooting 42.3 percent. D.J. Newbill is averaging 16 points and 5.7 rebounds, Jermaine Marshall is averaging 14.8 points, and Ross Travis is averaging 6.6 points. Penn State continues to look for an answer but I don’t see them finding one.
Illinois is 3-7 against the spread in their last 10 home games, 4-0 against the spread in their last four games, and 0-5 against the spread against a team with a losing record. Penn State is 5-1 against the spread against a team with a winning record, 6-13 against the spread in their last 19 road games, and 1-4 against the spread following a game which they covered the spread. Penn State is 12-3-1 against the spread in the last 16 meetings of these two teams.
The total is set at 132 but I don’t see anything that keeps it under that number.