Big Ten Battle in Champaign: Ohio St at Illinois

Ohio St Buckeyes at Illinois Fighting Illini, Assembly Hall, Champaign, IL
Saturday, January 23, 2011, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Ohio St -2
Current Line: Ohio St -2 1/2
Opening Total: 137
Current Total: 138
Money Line: Ohio St -130 / Illinois +110

David Lighty and the Ohio St Buckeyes travel to Champaign to take on Illinois in a crucial Big Ten game between two ranked teams. Ohio St is a 2 1/2 point favorite in the contest.

The Number one ranked 19-0 Ohio St Buckeyes are one of three undefeated teams left in the country along with Kansas and San Diego St. The Buckeyes are  6-0 in the Big Ten and put their perfect record on the line as they travel to the #22 or #23 (depending on what poll you look at) Illinois Fighting Illini. The Illini are 14-5 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten. Ohio St has wins over Florida, Florida St, South Carolina, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Penn St and Iowa. After 4 narrow victories by no more than 5 points to open Big Ten play, Ohio St crushed Iowa 70-48 in Columbus last Wednesday night. Illinois has losses to Texas, Illinois-Chicago, Missouri, Penn St and Wisconsin on the year. Illinois has wins over Maryland, Gonzaga, North Carolina, Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Michigan St on the season. Illinois broke a two game losing streak with a 71-62 win over Michigan St on Tuesday night. Illinois leads the overall series between the teams 99-62. Ohio St has won 3 of the last 5 meetings straight up but the two teams have are 2-2-1 ATS in those games. Three of the five games have gone under the total. Ohio St won the last meeting in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament last season. Ohio St won in double overtime 88-81.

Ohio St has no significant injuries right now. The Buckeyes have four players averaging in double figure scoring. The Buckeyes are led by forward Jared Sullinger. Sullinger averages 17.4 points to lead the team, 9.8 rebounds which also leads the team, 1.4 assists, and 1 steal a game. Guard William Buford averages 13.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.6 assists a game. David Lighty averages 13 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.6 steals a game. Jon Diebler averages 11.5 points, 1.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals a game. Aaron Craft leads the team in assists with 4.9 a game and steals with 1.8 a game. Dallas Lauderdale leads the team in blocks with 2 a game. Ohio st is outscoring opponents 79-57 on the year. Ohio St is shooting 50% from the field and 39.9% from 3 point range. Ohio St is 4th in the country in field goal percentage. Four Buckeyes shoot over 40% from 3-point range. Ohio St opponents are shooting 41.2% from the field. Ohio St is shooting 69.3% from the free throw line. Ohio St averages 35.7 rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of +5.8. Ohio St is only 150th  in the country in rebounding, but when you make as many shots as the Buckeyes do it reduces the amount of potential offensive rebounds.  The Buckeyes are averaging 17.8 assists and 11.2 turnovers a game. They force 17.8 turnovers a game on defense. They average 8.1 steals and 3.7 blocks a game.

Illinois is also healthy right now. They are led by guard Demetri McCamey, who is averaging 16.2 points to lead the team, 3.5 rebounds, 7.2 assists to lead the team, and 1 steal a game. He is shooting 52.5% from 3-point range. Forward Mike Davis is averaging 10.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. Guard D.J. Richardson averages 10.2 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. Forward Mike Tisdale leads the team in rebounds with 7.3 a game, and blocks with 1.4 a game. He is scoring 9.9 points a game as well. Brandon Paul lead the team in steals with 1.1 a game. Illinois is outscoring opponents 75-66 on the season. Illinois is shooting 48.1% from the field and 42.7% from 3-point range. Illini opponents are shooting 39.8% from the field. Illinois shoots 71.3% from the free throw line. Illinois averages 35.2 rebounds a game and has a rebounding margin of +1.7. The Illini average 16.9 assists and 13.2 turnovers a game on defense. They force 14.1 turnovers a game on defense. Illinois averages 5.8 steals and 4.7 blocks a game.

Ohio St is much better on defense, as they give up only 57 points a game. Neither is that exceptional at rebounding. Both are adept at forcing turnovers. Though Illinois is comfortable playing in the 70’s their best hope for winning might be to slow it down to the 60’s.

Our college basketball handicappers are red hot in 2011. Don’t miss out on anymore winners this season.

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