clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

College basketball picks: Prediction for No. 14 Illinois vs. Michigan on Thursday

The Illini meet the Wolverines in a Big Ten matchup on Thursday. We go over the lines and make a best bet.

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 14 Illinois Fighting Illini take on the Michigan Wolverines in a Big Ten matchup on Thursday, January 18. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET from Ann Arbor.

Illinois (12-4) is coming off a loss to Maryland, marking their second loss in three games. They also fell to Purdue in conference play at the beginning of January, though they kept the Boilermakers within five. The Illini rank 12th overall at KenPom, and 10th in adjusted offensive efficiency.

The Illini average 81.7 points per game (30th in the nation) and grab 43.2 rebounds per game (4th in the nation). Forward Marcus Domask leads the team in scoring with 14.9 points per game. Terrence Shannon Jr., the team’s previous leading scorer, was suspended from the team in December after being charged with rape.

Illinois’ best wins this season have come against FAU and Michigan State. In their loss to Maryland, the Illini were just 21-for-64 on field goals. Other losses have come against Marquette and Tennessee.

Michigan (7-10) ranks 72nd at KenPom and 44th in adjusted offensive efficiency. The Wolverines recently broke a five-game losing streak with a 73-65 win over rival Ohio State. Four of their five losses in the streak came by seven points or less.

The Wolverines average 79.7 points per game (43rd in the nation), but let up 77 points per game (280th in the nation). They will struggle to contain Illinois’ offense here. They excel from the perimeter, shooting 38.3% from the three-point line (21st in the nation).

Michigan’s top scorer, guard Dug McDaniel, is suspended for road games due to an academic issue, but will be available in this matchup. Both McDaniel and forward Olivier Nkamhoua average over 17 points per game, and Nkamhoua leads the team with 7.5 rebounds per game.

The Wolverines were able to pull out a win over Ohio State, but they have seriously struggled to pull out of close games throughout the last month. While they may be able to hang with Illinois for most of the game, I see the Illini offense slicing through the Michigan defense like butter and pulling away toward the end.

Illinois vs. Michigan odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Illinois -2.5
Total: 153.5
Moneyline: Illinois -148, Michigan +124

Pick: Illinois -2.5