Wednesday college basketball odds: No. 8 Minnesota at No. 12 Illinois
The top game on the schedule Wednesday night comes from Champaign, Ill., as two of the Big Ten’s biggest surprise teams thus far, Minnesota and Illinois, face off. Bet on the game at WagerWeb.com.
The Illini were upset by Purdue in their Big Ten opener but then beat No. 8 Ohio State 74-55 on Saturday. The win by Illinois (14-2, 1-1 Big Ten) came at the expense of coach John Groce’s former boss, Buckeyes coach Thad Matta. Groce was an assistant to Matta at Ohio State before taking over as head coach at Ohio. Brandon Paul led Illinois with 19 points and had seven rebounds. Tracy Abrams added 13 points and five assists, and reserve Joseph Bertrand scored 12 points. Egwu also had eight rebounds.
The Illini started fast and led 37-25 at halftime. They used a 13-2 run early in the second half to build a 50-27 lead. Illinois’ stingy defense shut down the Buckeyes, who shot just 33 percent from the field and turned the ball over 16 times.
Minnesota opened Big Ten play by beating ranked Michigan State and on Saturday beat Northwestern 69-51. Austin Hollins scored 17 of his 19 points during Minnesota’s big second-half surge for the win. Hollins powered a 26-7 run over an 8-minute stretch that gave the Gophers, who had only 17 points in the first half, a 45-25 lead. Minnesota (14-1, 2-0) has won 10 in a row, the program’s longest winning streak since it opened the 2008-09 season with 12 straight victories.
Minnesota will head into the matchup against Illinois ranked No. 8 in the latest AP poll. The ranking is the highest the Gophers have been in the Tubby Smith era and also the highest the program has been ranked since the 1981-82 team reached No. 5 in the polls. Minnesota did reach No. 2 during the 1996-97 season but that season has since been vacated. The Gophers will have an opportunity to start the conference season 3-0 or the first time since the 1974-75 team also started 3-0. The 1996-97 team started 4-0 but that season has since been vacated.
Minnesota and Illinois have met 168 times with the Illini holding a 61-107 lead in the series. The Gophers won the last matchup in overtime at Williams Arena. Hollins put the game into overtime with a three-point play with :04 seconds remaining. He finished with a team-high 14 points. Paul scored a game-high 28 for Illinois.
WagerWeb.com trends: Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings in Illinois. Under is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings. Favorite is 6-2 ATS in the last 8 meetings. Golden Gophers are 5-13 ATS in the last 18 meetings. Golden Gophers are 3-10 ATS in the last 13 meetings in Illinois.