Illinois at Ohio State Preview: The Ohio State Buckeyes host the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday afternoon in the game of the weekend in college basketball. Michigan has already won the Big Ten Conference regular-season title, but there is plenty on the line when these two teams meet up.
The winner of this game will likely earn the fourth number 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, earning an easier route to the Final Four. Ohio State beat up on Illinois earlier this season, and the Fighting Illini will be out for revenge.
Illinois comes into this game having won three straight games, including a huge win over Michigan on Tuesday night. The Fighting Illini will finish in second place in the Big Ten Conference, and this team comes into Saturday with a ton of momentum.
Ohio State has now lost three straight games, and they need to turn things around before the conference tournament begins. The Buckeyes have slipped to 5th place in the conference, and that would force them into action on Thursday at the Big Ten Conference Tournament.
Illinois at Ohio State Preview and Betting Pick: Illini Rolling Without Star
Ayo Dosunmu has missed the last three games for Illinois with a broken nose, but his teammates have stepped up in his absence. Losing an All-American is not easy for any team to overcome, but it speaks to the depth on this roster.
Dosunmu has already recorded a pair of triple-doubles this season, and he is expected to make a return to the lineup for this showdown. The potential Big Ten Conference Player of the Year appears to be on a mission to get Illinois back to the Final Four.
Center Kofi Cockburn is an absolute force down low, and he should join Dosunmu on the All-Conference team this season. Few teams have been able to keep the big man from registering a double-double, and Saturday could be another big effort.
Trent Frazier and Andre Curbelo bring a swagger to this Illini team, and they will play a role in this one.
Illinois at Ohio State Preview and Betting Pick: Buckeyes Looking to Bounce Back
The Ohio State Buckeyes looked like a national title contender just two weeks ago, but they have now lost three straight games. Ohio State has struggled to shoot the basketball during this slump, and their defense has not been able to lead the way.
Ohio State is averaging more than 77 points per game this season while holding opponents to just 69 points per game. Those are some solid numbers, but they are actually slightly worse than Illinois.
Forward E.J. Liddell dominated the Illini in the first meeting of the season, and he leads the team with nearly 17 points per game. The Buckeyes also need Duane Washington Jr. and CJ Walker to play well at the guard position to give this team a chance.
Illinois at Ohio State Preview and Betting Pick: Fighting Illini Get Revenge
Ohio State caught Illinois at the right time for their first meeting of the season, but that isn’t the case this time around. Illinois is coming into Columbus with a ton of momentum, and that could spell trouble for the Buckeyes.
Ayo Dosunmu is expected to be back in the lineup, and he will be looking to make up for the lost time. The rest of the Illini have proven their worth in recent games, but they will gladly welcome his return.
Ohio State just doesn’t have a true leader of that team, and they will struggle to find offense against a dominant Illinois defense. The Buckeyes will keep this game close at home, but it will be Illinois that takes control of this game late.
Illinois will claim the fourth number one seed as they head into Columbus and beat the Buckeyes in the regular-season finale.
Illinois Fighting Illini 82
Ohio State Buckeyes 74