The college basketball schedule this week is delivering some terrific matchups, but perhaps none bigger than the game taking place in Indianapolis on Wednesday night. The (5) Illinois Fighting Illini will meet up with the (2) Baylor Bears in a matchup of two premier teams.
Baylor has proven themselves to be a legitimate Final Four contender this season, and they are off to a 2-0 start. Illinois has won its first three games and the Fighting Illini have their best team in more than a decade.
This game will also feature two of the best backcourts in college basketball, and this is a Final Four preview. Don’t be surprised to see both of these teams making deep runs during the month of March.
The Baylor Bears are slight 2.5-point favorites over Illinois on Wednesday night in a game that will have plenty of national attention.
Dynamic Duo Leading Illinois
The Fighting Illini have one of the best inside-outside combinations in the country and that could be a huge factor in this game. Point guard Ayo Dosunmu and center Kofi Cockburn will both be lottery picks after this season, and they must be great in this game.
Dosunmu is averaging 25.7 points and 6.7 assists per game for Illinois, and he was clutch in the most recent win. There aren’t many teams that can stop Dosunmu in the open floor, and he has also added shooting to his resume.
Cockburn is averaging 15.0 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, and he is an absolute monster down low. If Illinois is struggling to shoot the ball, Cockburn is able to carry this team on the offensive end of the floor.
This Illinois team is extremely deep and they will want to play fast in this game. A great start in this game could be a huge key for the Illini.
Guard Play Carrying Baylor
Baylor has outscored its first two opponents by more than 30 points per game, but this will be the first real test of the season. The Bears spent a majority of the 2019-20 season as the top-ranked team in the country, and they return much of the same roster.
Baylor has four different guards averaging double-figures this season and that part of the team will lead the way. The Bears have already made 28 three-point shots through two games, and they can light it up in a hurry.
Jared Butler leads the team with 18.5 points and 2.5 steals per game, and he is a future NBA Lottery pick. Butler and Dosunmu will be matched up all night in what will be a great matchup.
Baylor does have some concerns on the interior and stopping Cockburn could be a challenge for the Bears. Don’t be surprised to see Baylor play some zone to try to protect the interior in this one.
Flighting Illini Complete the Upset
This is the biggest game for Illinois since the 2004-05 season, and the Fighting Illini will be ready for this test. Illinois’ guard Ayo Dosunmu will want to put on a show for a national audience and he will simply carry his team to victory in this game.
Baylor has been dealing with plenty of distractions already this season, and this game doesn’t mean as much to the Bears. Baylor expects to be a contender in March, while Illinois is out to prove it.
This should be a terrific game and one that is tight throughout. In the end, Dosunmu will make enough close plays to give the Fighting Illini a huge win.
Bet the Illinois Fighting Illini over the Baylor Bears in this top-five clash on Wednesday night.