Big Ten Border Battle In Bloomington: Illinois Fighting Illini At Indiana Hoosiers

Illinois Fighting Illini at #23 Indiana Hoosiers
Assembly Hall – Bloomington, Indiana
Thursday, February 9, 2012, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: Big Ten Net
Opening Line: Indiana -8
Current Line: Indiana -6
Opening Total: 137
Current Total: 135 1/2
Opening Money Line: Indiana -350 / Illinois +290
Current Money Line: Indiana -270 / Illinois +230

The Indiana Hoosiers are 6 point favorites at home against Illinois Thursday night. Both teams are struggling recently and need a win badly.

Not only is Illinois-Indiana a key Big Ten Rivalry game, but it is a battle between two reeling teams desperate for a victory. The 16-7 Illinois Fighting Illini have lost 4 of their last 5 games including 74-70 at home against Northwestern Sunday. The Indiana Hoosiers are 18-6 but have lost 5 of their last 8 games. The Hoosiers won at Purdue 78-61 Saturday. Illinois is 5-5 in conference and Indiana is 6-6. Both teams are 3.5 games behind first place Ohio St. The series is tied at 83 games apiece between Illinois and Indiana. The Hoosiers lead the series 51-29 in Bloomington. The two teams split the season series last year with each winning on their home court.

Illinois is coached by bruce Weber. The Illini have additional losses to UNLV, Missouri, Purdue, Penn St, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Illinois has wins over Richmond, Illinois St, Maryland, Gonzaga, Cornell, Minnesota, Northwestern, Nebraska, Ohio St, and Michigan St.

Indiana is coached by Tom Crean. The Hoosiers have losses to Michigan St, Minnesota, Ohio St, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Indiana has wins over Evansville, Butler, North Carolina St, Kentucky, Notre Dame, Ohio St, Michigan, Penn St, Penn St twice, and Iowa.

Illinois is outscoring opponents 67-61 this season. The Illini are shooting 44.9% from the field, including 32.1% from 3 point range. Illinois makes 70.6% of their free throws. The Illini average 33.7 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +2.6. Illinois averages 12.8 assists, 13.8 turnovers, 5.5 steals, and 4.5 blocks a game. Illini opponents are shooting 41% from the field, including 35.7% from 3 point range. Illinois forces 14.1 turnovers a game on defense.

Illinois guard  Brandon Paul averages 15.1 points, 5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.6 steals a game. He leads the Illini in scoring, assists, and steals, and is making 34.5% of his three pointers. Meyers Leonard averages 13.3 points, 8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 2.1 blocks a game. He leads the team in blocks and rebounds. D.J. Richardson averages 12.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2 assists a game. He is shooting 38.4% from 3 point range. Sam Maniscalco averages 7.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists a game. Guard Devin Langford is out indefinitely with a broken finger.

Indiana is outscoring opponents 79-66 this season. Indiana is #19 nationally in scoring. The Hoosiers are shooting 49.5% from the field, and 43.1% from 3 point range. The Hoosiers are #6 in field goal percentage and #3 in 3 point percentage. Indiana makes 70.6% of their free throws. The Hoosiers average 35 rebounds a game, and have a rebounding margin of +3.9. Indiana averages 13.8 assists, 13.2 turnovers, 6.8 steals, and 3.6 blocks a game. Indiana opponents are shooting  41.9% from the field and 32.7% from 3 point range. The Hoosiers force 14.1 turnovers a game on defense.

Indiana has 4 players averaging double digit scoring. Freshman forward Cody Zeller averages 15.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.4 blocks a game. He leads Indiana in scoring rebounds, and blocks. Christian Watford averages 12.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.3 assists a game. He makes 43.8% from 3 point range.  Jordan Hulls average 12.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1 steal a game. He makes 48.5% of his three point attempts. Victor Oladipo averages 10.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.5 steals a game to lead the team. Will Sheehey averages 8.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.1 assists a game. He is shooting 44.8% from 3 point range. Verdell Jones III averages 7.8 points, 2.9 points, and 3.5 assists a game to lead the team. Maurice Creek is out for the season with a torn Achilles’ tendon.

Indiana is 12-7 ATS and the total is 11-7-1 this season. Illinois is 9-12 ATS and the total is 11-10 this season. The under is 15-5-2 in the last 22 games in this series, including 8-1-2 in Bloomington. The Illini are 5-2-1 ATS as an underdog of 6.5 points or less, including 4-1-1 on the road. 6-15 in Thursday games, 1-4 overall, and in Big Ten games. The Hoosiers are 4-1 ATS overall and in Big Ten games, 7-2 at home, 6-2 after a cover, 5-2 as a home favorite, 1-4 in Thursday games, 1-5 after a straight up win, and 2-12 as a favorite of 6.5 points or less, including 1-10 at home.

Both of these teams seemed like locks for the NCAA tournament a few weeks ago. But losing streaks have cast doubts on both schools. I like Indiana at home as they are much better in Bloomington. The Hoosiers already have upsets over top 5 teams Kentucky and Ohio St at home.

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