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NCAAB Preview:Minnesota Golden Gophers vs Illinois Fighting Illini

Illinois Fighting Illini

Fighting Illini Look to Bounce Back

The nation’s two most productive Power 5 guards will square off when Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Illinois fighting Illini meet in their Big Ten opener Tuesday night in Champaign, Ill..

TIME: 8:00 p.m. ET. TV: ESPN2; BETTING LINE: Illinois -8.5 / TOTAL 147

It could turn into a highlight real type of game. Illinois junior Ayo Dosunmu, a preseason All-American, enters conference play averaging 24.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game. Minnesota junior Marcus Carr, a preseason all-Big 10 pick, shows up averaging 23.7 points, 6.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds.

But they don’t have to set the stat sheets on fire for their teams to win. they can lose when they do as well. Dosunmu poured in a career-high 36 points Saturday night at Missouri, but the Illini (4-2) fell, 81-78.

Illinois struggled to create anything within the structure of their offense last time out. That is proven by the team managing just 10 assists on 29 baskets. If Dosunmu or freshman point guard Andre Curbelo wasn’t attacking the basket, then little got done. That has to change.

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Gophers need Help for Carr to be Successful

Carr “settled” for 15 points and 7 assists in Minnesota’s last outing. He took just seven shots as the Gophers, who are 6-0, produced a 29-point thrashing of Kansas City.

Seven-foot junior Liam Robbins is averaging 12.5 ppg and 7.7 rpg. He took the lead against Kansas City as he piled up 27 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocks. It was his finest effort since transferring from Drake shortly after last season ended.

Robbins’ first Big Ten test figures to be one of his toughest of the year. Sophomore 7-footer Kofi Cockburn, a preseason all-league pick, averages 14 points and 8.8 rebounds per game for the Illini. He has struggled to secure the ball when on the receiving end of Dosunmu’s and Curbelo’s passes.

Robbins isn’t Minnesota’s only high-profile transfer off to a strong start. Minnesota native Both Gach averages 15.3 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting 56 percent from the floor. He is a transfer from Utah.

Fighting Illini Have to Play Well

Illinois doesn’t have a perimeter player who can match Gach’s numbers. Honestly, Illinois and Minnesota have prepared for the Big Ten in markedly different ways and statistics can be skewed.

The Gophers never left Williams Arena for their six games. Their overtime win over Boston College last Tuesday in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge was their only Power 5 test.

Over the last two weeks the Fighting Illini have played a very tough schedule. Illinois lost to No. 2 Baylor in Indianapolis, defeated No. 10 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium and fell at Missouri. Underwood even tried to play a rematch against Baylor when Illinois’ Dec. 5 date against Tennessee-Martin was called due to COVID-19 concerns.

Next up:
Minnesota home to Saint Louis Sunday, December 20
Illinois at Rutgers Sunday, December 20

The Dart Throw: Illinois 82, Minnesota 74

Golden Gophers vs Fighting Illini Betting Trends
Illinois Fighting Illini Trends
  • Trend Under is 7-0 in Fighting Illini last 7 games as an underdog of 13.0 or greater. Hit % 100.00% (7) O/U 0|7 Push 0 W/L
  • Under is 5-1 in Fighting Illini last 6 games as an underdog of 7.0-12.5. 83.30% (6) 1|5 0
  • Over is 5-1-1 in Fighting Illini last 7 games as a favorite. 83.30% (7) 5|1 1
  • Over is 3-1-1 in Fighting Illini last 5 games as a home favorite. 75.00% (5) 3|1 1
Minnesota Golden Gophers Betting Trends
  • Trend Under is 13-3 in Golden Gophers last 16 games as an underdog of 13.0 or greater. Hit % 81.20% (16) O/U 0|7 Push 0 W/L
  • Under is 19-6-1 in Golden Gophers last 26 games as an underdog of 7.0-12.5. 76.00% (26) 1|5 0
  • Under is 12-2 in Golden Gophers last 14 games as a road underdog of 13.0 or greater. 85.70% (14) 2|12 0
  • Over is 20-7 in Golden Gophers last 27 games as a favorite of 7.0-12.5. 74.10% (27) 5|0 0
Head to Head Meetings Trends
  • Trend Favorite is 23-9 ATS in the last 32 meetings. Hit % 71.90% (32) O/U Push 0 W/L 23|9
  • Home team is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings. 100.00% (4) 0 4|0

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