Illinois (19-8) at Michigan (15-11)
When: Sunday, February 27th 2022
Where: Crisler Center,
Ann Arbor, MI
Time: 2:00 ET | TV: CBS
Opening Odds: Pickem/141.5
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The No. 15 Illinois Fighting Illini desperately need a win on Sunday to keep pace in the Big Ten standings with just one week left in the regular season. The task won’t be easy, as the Illini head to Ann Arbor, Michigan to take on the Michigan Wolverines at 2:00 ET on CBS. Illinois blew an opportunity to grab a share of the conference lead on Thursday when they fell 86-83 at home to the Ohio State Buckeyes as 6.5-point favorites. In fact, the Illini have not won back-to-back games since the beginning of the month, losing also at Rutgers as 4-point favorites. They are just 1-4 ATS in the last five games and 5-8 ATS away from home this season. Illinois rolled Michigan in the first meeting 68-53 for their fourth-straight win in the series.
While the Illini are playing for a Big Ten title and NCAA Tournament seeding, the Wolverines are just trying to get on the bubble. Right now, ESPN’s Bracketology has the Wolverines as one of the Last Four Byes with Rutgers, TCU and North Carolina as of Friday night. Michigan is just 8-4 in its last 12 games including a 71-62 home win over Rutgers on Wednesday. It was the Wolverines first game without coach Juwan Howard, who was suspended five games for slapping a Wisconsin assistant coach during the postgame handshakes on Feb. 20. Michigan also was without suspended players Moussa Diabate and Terrance Williams in the win over Rutgers.
It was a back and forth game in the loss to Ohio State on Thursday, but the Illini came up short in the three-point loss. Illinois shot 47.6 percent from the floor, but the Buckeyes were betting at 51.9 percent and 6-of-12 from beyond the arc. Alfonso Plummer led the team with 26 points and made eight of the team’s 11 three-pointers, while Jacob Grandison chipped in 14 points. Leading scorer Kofi Cockburn (21.2) had just 12 points on 5-of-15 shooting and no player had more than 4 rebounds. Trent Frazier had 12 points and a team-high 31 minutes of action and is averaging 12.4 points on the season. Illinois will finish the regular season at home next week against Penn State and Iowa.
In the 68-53 loss to Illinois, Michigan played without leading scorer Hunter Dickinson due to COVID-19 protocol, but Dickinson is back and will battle Illinois big man Kofi Cockburn. Freshman, Caleb Houstan, who has struggled for most of the year, scored a season-high 21 points and made 5-of-9 from 3-point range in the win over the Scarlet Knights. Dickinson was next with 16 points and a team-high 11 rebounds, while DeVante’ Jones chipped in 14 points and seven boards. The Wolverines will play three games next week to finish the regular season, beginning with Michigan State on Tuesday.
Illinois has had a lot of bad road games in conference play and they’re in for a fight here. Michigan is starting to play better ball recently and I’ll take them at home.
Pick: Michigan PK
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