Be ready for Illinois vs Ohio state pick and betting preview!
Where: Value City Arena, Columbus, Ohio
When: Saturday, 4 p.m. EST
Storylines Leading up to Saturday
The No. 4 ranked Illinois Fighting Illini are looking to go for their fifth straight win against ranked opponents on Saturday when they travel to Columbus to take on No. 7 ranked Ohio State. This will be the final regular season game for both teams before the BIG10 tournament starts on March 10th.
The Illini are on a hot streak as of lately, they have won three games in a row the latest being a beat down of No. 2 Michigan on Tuesday.
Illinois won 76-53 despite missing star guard Ayo Dosunmu. Senior Trent Frazier led the way for the Illini with 22 points followed by freshman Andre Curbelo with 17 points.
Illinois last ranked loss came against Ohio State on January 16th. The Buckeyes defeated the Fighting Illini in that game 87-81. Tensions ran high as refs had to seperate players multiple times after fouls.
Postseason success is all about coming into March strong. Something Ohio State is failing at right now. Ohio State is reeling and searching for answers.
This game is a battle between two polar opposite teams going into March. While Illinois is riding high one a three game streak, Ohio State is trying to climb back from a three game losing streak, the latest being at the hands of Iowa by a score of 73-57.
Illinois Players to Watch
Losing guard Ayo Dosunmu indefinitely hurts Illinois’ chances for a deep playoff run. Before his injury Dosunmu was hitting 40% of his three point shots. Illinois displayed their deep talent in their win against Michigan though.
Trent Frazier is in the running for defensive player of the year for the Big10. Frazier is averaging 11 points per game on 40% shooting, but has recorded three games with 20 or more. Frazier will be tasked with covering Duane Washington Jr., making him a huge factor on both ends against Ohio State.
Another big time player to watch for the Fighting Illini is Kofi Cockburn. Kofi has averaged 17.5 PPG, 9.8 REB and shooting 66.5% this season. Against Ohio State in January he posted a double double putting up 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Ohio State Players to Watch
Despite dropping three games in a row Ohio State is still considered one of the top teams in the country. Those three losses weren’t to just anyone. Ohio State had a brutal end of the year schedule facing No. 5 Iowa, then No. 2 Michigan, and a surging Michigan State team who has played upset a couple times this year.
Ohio State Buckeyes’ talented forward E.J. Liddell will be the player to watch on Saturday. The 6’7″ sophomore is averaging a team-high 16.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. He has been crucial for the No. 5 ranked Buckeyes this season.
Despite his team’s losses, E.J. Liddell has been carrying his weight and averaged 19.4 points on the losing streak. As the Buckeyes try to break out of this slump, they will turn to Liddell for a spark on both ends of the floor.
Senior CJ Walker is another Buckeye that will need to step up on Saturday. Walker averages 9.2 PPG, 2.6 REB, 4.7 ASST and shoots 37.9% from the field.
Walker is a very athletic guard that can weave his way through defenses for the lay up and is a reliable scorer on catch and shoot situations
Illinois vs Ohio State Pick
Ohio State will carry the home-court advantage in this game but Illinois is showing up with all the momentum. Being able to wipe the floor with Michigan despite not having their best player has fired up this team.
Ohio State covers the spread but Illinois wins the game outright.