Home | News | Minnesota vs. Illinois NCAAB Odds and Preview – February 28th, 2024

Minnesota vs. Illinois NCAAB Odds and Preview – February 28th, 2024

By Hank Blaine

The Minnesota Golden Gophers are on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble as things stand, but would get a major resume boost on Wednesday if they can win at No. 13 Illinois, which is still in the running for the Big Ten regular-season title. The Illini are double-digit home favorites.

Wednesday marks the first and only scheduled meeting this season between these teams, as Illinois is one of six opponents Minnesota faces once this season and one of three just on the road (Purdue and Michigan marks the other two). The Illini lead the all-time series 120-66. Last year, Illinois won the first game at Williams Arena, 78-60, on Jan. 16, 2023. The second game was postponed due to COVID-19 health and safety on Feb. 7, only to be rescheduled for Feb. 20. The Illini won at State Farm, 78-69.

Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Game Information

  • When: Wednesday, February 28th, 2024 at 9:00 pm ET
  • Where: State Farm Center, Champaign, IL
  • TV: BTN
  • Radio: KFAN 100.3 FM (Minnesota) // 98.9 The Game (Illinois)
  • Live Stream: BTN
  • NCAAB Betting Odds: Minnesota (+11.5) // Illinois (-11.5)

Why Bet on the Minnesota Golden Gophers?

Minnesota had a chance to get on the right side of the bubble on Sunday, but had a two-game winning streak snapped in a 73-55 loss at Nebraska. Juwan Gary had 18 of his career-high 22 points in the second half for the Huskers. Gary hit 7-of-13 shots from the field, including a career-high four 3-pointers in posting his third career 20-point game for Nebraska, which held Minnesota to 31 percent shooting and a season-low 55 points. NU out-rebounded Minnesota, 44-38, and forced 13 Gopher turnovers. The Huskers improved to 17-1 at home, including 9-0 in league play.

A three-pointer by Mike Mitchell Jr., just the second of the game for the Gophers, cut Nebraska’s early second-half lead to 33-25, but the Huskers answered with a 10-1 run to take a 17-point lead at 43-26. The Huskers expanded the lead to 47-28 and that was that. Cam Christie led the Gophers with 14 points, Dawson Garcia had 10 points and eight rebounds, and Parker Fox came off the bench to finish with eight points and a team-high nine rebounds. In the past six games, Fox has averaged 16 minutes a game, 4.7 rebounds and 6.7 points.

Hawkins reached his 1,000 career point Sunday. As a Gopher, Hawkins has 237 points and 764 points in his two-year tenure at Howard. With 191 assists this season, Hawkins is also closing in on Minnesota’s single-season assist record. He’s on pace to break Marcus Carr’s 207 assists he established in 2019-20.

Following a 78-67 loss vs the Huskers on the same date in 2023, Minnesota was 7-20 overall and 1-16 in Big Ten play. Now at 17-10 overall and 8-8 in the conference, the Gophers’ eight-win improvement marks the best in the Big Ten and one of the best nationally among Power 6 teams. South Carolina has improved from 11 wins last season to 22 this year, while Cal has gone from three wins to 13.

Why Bet on the Illinois Fighting Illini?

No. 13 Illinois (20-7, 11-5) was a 95-85 winner over Iowa on Saturday to keep its slim Big Ten regular-season title hopes alive – Purdue is likely to win the league. The Hawkeyes led 64-57 with 12:15 left in the second half but failed to hold on. Illinois took control with just under six-minutes remaining. Iowa shot 12-of-34 (35.3%) from the field and just 1-of-6 (16.7%) from 3 in the second 20 minutes.

Coleman Hawkins bounced back with a career-high 30 points for the Illini, including 17 in the second half and 10 points in the final 3:15 of the contest. It was his fourth 20-point game of the season. Hawkins’ nine field goals and nine free-throws both marked career highs. Shooting 81.8% from the field, Hawkins made his final three attempts from the field while also going 9-for-11 from the free-throw line. He also tallied five assists, five steals, and two rebounds.

All-American candidate Terrence Shannon Jr. extended his double-digit scoring streak to 31 games, collecting 12 points while also connecting from deep twice in the first half. Shannon also grabbed three rebounds and dished out three assists. He is now 13 points away from 1,000 for his career at Illinois.

Niccolo Moretti took advantage of his career-high 17 minutes of action, recording a career-high nine points while also connecting from 3-point land twice for his first collegiate 3-pointers. Moretti amassed all of his minutes in the second half, earning the most minutes by an Illini player (17) over the final 20 minutes of play. Moretti, who missed 10 games due to injury from Nov. 24 through Jan. 11, registered his first points since scoring two on Jan. 18 at Michigan.

The victory saw Illinois become the second program to win 1,000 Big Ten games, while head coach Brad Underwood became the second Illini coach to record five consecutive 20-win seasons and the first since Lou Henson. It was the school’s 11th Big Ten win of the year, securing a finish above .500 in league play for the fifth consecutive season. Illinois is the only program in the Big Ten to accomplish that feat in each of the last five seasons.

Illinois is fifth in the country in offensive efficiency (123.4), its highest ranking of the Kenpom era, ahead of the 2005 season when the Illini’s NCAA runner-up team had the nation’s No. 3 offense (122.3). But the Illini defense has been a problem in February. They have given up at least 80 points in five of six February games while going 4-2. Opponents had scored 83 or more points just four times in 20 games before February.

Illinois has a Big Ten-leading 27 road wins (27-21, .563) in conference play since the start of 2019-20, which includes a 4-4 road mark this season. Illinois is 6-5 away from State Farm Center in 2023-24, joining Purdue as the only Big Ten teams with winning records in combined road and neutral games this season.

Minnesota vs. Illinois Betting Trends

  • Minnesota is 9-1 ATS in the last 10 games.
  • Golden Gophers are 2-12 SU in its last 14 games on the road.
  • The total went over in 4 of Minnesota’s last 5 games.
  • Illinois is 13-6-1 ATS in the last 20 games.
  • Fighting Illini are 6-2 SU in its last 8 games.
  • The total went over in 7 of Illinois’ last 7 games.

Minnesota vs. Illinois Expert Prediction

Illinois takes the win.

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This is just one of the many sports betting guides that you can read here at Nitrobetting news. Stay tuned for more 2023-24 NCAAB season previews and articles, and don’t forget to check out the latest college basketball betting odds on our online Bitcoin sportsbook.

*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.

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