Despite finishing seventh in the SEC this season, Arkansas is one of the more dangerous teams in the country and should provide matchup problems for whichever team it faces in the first round. They rank No. 19 in KemPom rankings with an adjusted offensive rating of 112.6, which ranks 51st in the country. Their defensive rating is 94.0, which is good for 16th in the county. That number makes a lot of sense when you look at how many points per game they allow.
The Fighting Illini went 4-5 in their last nine games of the regular season after winning seven of eight in the previous stretch. When Illinois is on, they’re a very good team, but their cold streaks and inconsistency have hurt them in Big Ten play and could derail them in the tournament too.
2023 NCAA Tournament: No. 8 Arkansas vs. No. 9 Illinois odds
Moneyline: Arkansas -135, Illinois +115
Spread: Arkansas -2.5