Illinois at Minnesota Preview: The red-hot Illinois Fighting Illini hit the road on Saturday afternoon for a matchup with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Illinois blasted Minnesota earlier this season by a score of 92-65, and the Golden Gophers will be looking for some revenge.
Illinois has now won six straight games and they sit in second place in the Big Ten Conference race. The Fighting Illini are now up to number 5 in the AP Top 25, and are looking to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
Minnesota has just two wins in their last seven games, and they are looking like a Bubble Team for the NCAA Tournament. The Golden Gophers have gone just 6-9 in Big Ten Conference games, and they are looking for a resume-boosting win.
The Illinois Fighting Illini are five-point favorites over the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Illinois at Minnesota Preview: Dosunmu Doing it All For Illini
Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu is the most clutch player in college basketball, and he has been on an absolute tear of late. Dosunmu returned to campus to make one final run with the Illini, and he has the Illinois faithful dreaming big.
The All-American guard leads the team with 21.3 points and 5.7 assists per game, and he is capable of simply taking a game over. Center Kofi Cockburn is averaging a double-double so far this season, and few teams have anyone that can stop him inside.
Illinois is one of the most efficient offensive teams in the country, averaging 81.2 points per game. There isn’t a ton of depth on this roster, but they play extremely fast and aren’t afraid to shoot it from deep.
Head coach Brad Underwood is still looking for his team to become better on the defensive end of the floor, but the Fighting Illini are allowing less than 70 points per game. There aren’t many holes on this team, and they have a ton of momentum.
Illinois at Minnesota Preview: Minnesota Must Make Shots
If the Minnesota Golden Gophers are going to pull off this upset over Illinois then they are going to have to shoot the ball extremely well. Minnesota struggled from the three-point line in the earlier loss to Illinois, and they are now playing without Gabe Kalscheur.
Guard Marcus Carr is one of the best offensive players in the Big Ten Conference, and he leads the team with 19.4 points and 5.1 assists per game. Carr will likely need to win the head-to-head battle against Dosunmu if the Golden Gophers will have any chance of winning.
The Golden Gophers are giving up close to 73 points per game, and they really struggled to slow down Illinois in the first meeting of the year. Even if Minnesota is able to shoot the ball well, finding a way to stop Dosunmu and Cockburn is a whole other challenge.
The Golden Gophers are always better on their home floor, but they need to find another level to stay in this one.
Illinois Stays Red-Hot
Don’t expect Illinois to come away with another 27-point win over Minnesota in this meeting as the Golden Gophers are a much-improved team. Illinois is still the much better team in this matchup, but winning on the road is never easy in the Big Ten Conference.
Look for Minnesota to come out ready to play for this game, and they will take a lead into the locker room at halftime. The Golden Gophers just simply don’t have enough offense to keep up, and the defense won’t be able to slow down the explosive.
Ayo Dosunmu simply won’t let his team down, and he will continue to make clutch plays when his team needs it the most. Look for Illinois to pull away from Minnesota down the stretch as they pick up another win.
Bet the Illinois Fighting Illini -5.0 over the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
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