College Basketball Picks: Illinois vs. Texas Betting Odds and Predictions
by Robert Ferringo - 11/18/2010
Tournaments are the defining characteristic of college basketball success. Of course, the conference and NCAA tournaments at the bedrock of March Madness are the most renowned and revered of the college basketball tournaments. However, if you want a good indicator of who is game to run the table in the tournaments in March, it helps to keep an eye on the tournaments in November.
No. 16 Illinois takes on No. 22 Texas in the nightcap of the 2K Sports Classic semifinals at 9 p.m. on Thursday at Madison Square Garden. The winner faces the winner of the Maryland-Pittsburgh semifinal played earlier this evening. The Illini have been instilled as 2.5-point favorites in this contest and the total is set at 144.0.
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This tournament pits three Top 25 teams against one another. And there is a great chance that either Illinois or Texas is going to leave New York City with two big scalps to add to its tournament resume as well as some inflated expectations rolling into the rest of the nonconference portion of the schedule.
These two teams may not be familiar with one another (their last head-to-head meeting was back on 2000), but they are familiar with their opponent’s conference. Illinois has played marquee nonconference games against Big 12 foe Missouri in each of the last four years. They are 3-1 straight up in those games and 2-2 against the spread while facing that regional rival on a neutral court.
The Longhorns have tangled with two of the Big Ten’s best the last several years. They have locked horns with Michigan State in each of the last four seasons and also played a home-and-home with Wisconsin in 2007 and 2008. Texas has gone 2-4 both SU and ATS in those six games.
Both teams are unbeaten and have looked fairly dominant on their short roads to MSG.
The Longhorns are young, athletic and extremely talented. They won each of their first two games by 31 points and are led by explosive scorer Jordan Hamilton. Hamilton averages 22.5 points per game and 7.0 rebounds from the wing. Burly center Johnson (16.0 ppg) and sensational freshman Tristan Thompson (14.5 ppg) are there to add power while Texas’ crowded backcourt add support on the perimeter.
Illinois brought back all five starters from an underachieving team that barely missed the NCAA Tournament last year. Guard Demetri McCamey is the ringleader for this squad and he leads the team in scoring (14.7 ppg) and assists (8.0 assists per game). The strength of this team is in its post presence, with solid forward Mike Davis and Bill Cole backed up by center Mike Tisdale. This team is experienced and executes very well on the offensive end. However, if there is a weakness on this club it is that they lack depth, especially on the perimeter.
Illinois at Texas Betting Odds and Line Movement
The line on this game opened at a ‘pick,’ but was quickly bet up to Illinois -2.5. The total has been firm at 144.0. The action on this game favors the Illini, as they have been taking about two of every three wagers in this contest.
Illinois at Texas Betting Trends
Longhorns are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. Big Ten.
Longhorns are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 non-conference games.
Longhorns are 8-20 ATS in their last 28 games overall.
Longhorns are 3-15 ATS in their last 18 games vs. a team with a winning record.
Longhorns are 2-11 ATS in their last 13 games following a S.U. win.
Fighting Illini are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
Fighting Illini are 11-4-1 ATS in their last 16 vs. Big 12.
Fighting Illini are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games after a win of 20 or more points.
Fighting Illini are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 neutral site games.
Illinois at Texas College Basketball Betting Picks and Predictions
This is a very interesting matchup because there is so much talent on both sides. The situation that I see some value is on the total at 144.0. Both of these teams have had plenty of time to get the early season kinks out and they should be fresh and ready to run. The ‘over’ is 17-5 in Illinois’ last 22 nonconference games and eight straight games have gone ‘over’ when Texas plays on a neutral site. These two clubs have combined to go ‘over’ in all three of their combined lined games this year. Neither club has scored less than 79 points this season and they combine to average 168.7 points.
Which is why I kind of like the ‘under’, especially in the first half. I know that it seems counterintuitive, but these teams have been ripping and running because they have faced far inferior competition. By my analysis none of the five teams that these clubs have played are going to finish over .500 and none of them are real threats in their mid-major conferences. Illinois and Texas have simply been bigger and stronger than their opponents, but things are going to come much tougher when they bang heads with one another.
These two clubs combine to allow an average of just 112 points per game. They both lock down and get after it defensively and both teams have a lot of strength on the interior, which should minimize easy baskets. I think that this number is on point, but I also think that it is shaded high because the public wants to pound the ‘over’. I like this game to be played in the 60’s and I think that is settle around 138 total points. Take the ‘under’ here.
Robert Ferringo is a writer and a college basketball handicapper for Doc’s Sports. He has banked $6,000 in profit for his clients after four of five winning football weeks and is rolling out more predictions this week. This week’s card will include another conference Game of the Year as well as his NFL Game of the Month. He has brought in over $15,000 in overall profit in all sports over the last two-plus months. You can sign up for his college football and NFL picks and get more information here.
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