No. 23 overall Missouri has started the season on fire, winning its first ten games, but college basketball oddsmakers expect the Tigers to run into trouble against a tough 9-2 Illinois team. The college basketball odds are 2-points in favor of the Tigers.
This game is of course a big rivalry game for both teams, and Illinois coach John Groce said “it’s one of those games that’s easy to get up for.”
Despite its hot start, Mizzou returned only one starter from its 2012-13 squad. JUCO transfer Jordan Clarkson has been huge in leading the team in scoring and assists, and freshman Johnathan Williams III is holding down the fort down low, averaging 8.4 rebounds per game. Clarkson is posting 19.4 points per game.
Missouri has won 25 straight at home and is the last unbeaten SEC team. The Tigers have shot 49.7 percent from the floor this season, and Clarkson’s high volume is connected with at a 50.7 percent clip. Clarkson, Jabari Brown and Earnest Ross combine to average 52.6 points per game, approximately two-thirds of the Tigers scoring production. The team does not have a lot of depth compared to some of the other contending teams, using just seven men in its rotation.
Illinois is led by Rayvonte Rice’s 17.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Only two other Illini score double figures, Tracy Abrams with 11.5 points per game and Joseph Bertrand with 10.7. Jon Ekey leads the team in rebounding with 6.4 rebounds per game to go with his 9.2 points per contest.
Illinois Trends: 2-9-1 ATS in last 12 Saturday games; UNDER 6-2 in last 8 non-conf; UNDER 20-8 in last 28 overall.
Missouri Trends: OVER 19-7 in last 26 neutral site games; OVER 12-5 in last 17 Saturday games.