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College basketball expert pick for No. 9 Illinois vs. No. 1 Purdue on Friday

The Fighting Illini will cross the state line to battle the Boilermakers in a Friday night showdown of Big Ten elites.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 02 Northwestern at Illinois Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We have a top 10 showdown in the Big Ten to start the weekend as the No. 9 Illinois Fighting Illini trek over the state border to battle the No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena. Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. ET and the game will air on FS1.

Illinois (11-2, 2-0 Big Ten) was able to crush a team that Purdue couldn’t, dominating Northwestern in a 96-66 victory blowout on Tuesday. The Illini never trailed in what turned into their fourth straight victory, shooting 62.5% from the field and never let their foot off the gas. They got a 32-point effort from Marcus Domask, who also offered six assists and five rebounds. This was Illinois’ second game without leading scorer Terrance Shannon Jr., who was suspended indefinitely last week after being charged with rape.

Purdue (13-1, 2-1 Big Ten) has ripped off six straight since its loss to Northwestern and last handled Maryland in a 67-53 victory on Tuesday. The Boilermakers also never trailed in this contest and did their work on the defensive side of the floor, holding the Terrapins to just 33.3% shooting for the night. Zach Edey put up another double-double performance with 23 points and 12 rebounds.

This is a true Big Ten clash of titans as per KenPom, both teams are ranked in the top 20 in adjusted efficiency on both offense and defense. The real battle to watch will be inside when Purdue has the ball. The Boilermakers are shooting 55.7% from two, a stat that can be accomplished when having a 7’4” big in Edey that they can dump it to. However, the Illini are holding opponents to just 40.6% shooting from good, the second-best mark in the country.

What this game means for Illinois

Illinois currently stands atop the Big Ten standings and would make a major statement by taking out the No. 1 team in the country on the road with its leading scorer out indefinitely. The Illini are 1-2 in Quad 1 games so far and this would undoubtedly be their biggest win of the entire year if they pull this off.

What this game means for Purdue

Outside of the hiccup against Northwestern, Purdue has done a great job at beating the “fraud” allegations by maintaining its spot at No. 1. However, the Boilermakers have to handle business in conference play and a victory over an elite opponent tonight could give them the juice to go on a rampage over the next few weeks.

Illinois vs. Purdue odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Purdue -10.5
Total: 151
Moneyline: Purdue -600, Illinois +440

Pick: Illinois +10.5