Arkansas vs Illinois March Madness Prediction, 03/16
- Lm Tipster
- Mar 15, 2023, 9:18:36 AM
|Time||4:30 p.m. EST|
|Fighting Illini money line||+120|
|Fighting Illini spread||+2 (-110)|
|Razorbacks money line||-140|
|Razorbacks spread||-2 (-110)|
|Over / under||143.5|
2022-2023 season stats
|Illinois Fighting Illini||Arkansas Razorbacks|
|road / home record||3-7||13-3|
|Points per game||75.00||74.00|
|Points allowed per game||72.00||67.00|
|Rebounds per game||33.00||36.00|
|Rebounds allowed per game||32.00||34.00|
|Over / under record||15-17||14-18|
The Men's Basketball Championship is here, and the West Region is set to feature an exciting matchup between the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Illinois Fighting Illini. Both teams finished the regular season with a record of 20-13 and will be eager to get off to a winning start in the tournament. The game will take place at Wells Fargo Arena in Iowa on March 16th, and will be broadcast live on TBS at 1:30 PM. In this article, we will provide an extended preview of both teams, analyze their strengths and weaknesses, and make a final prediction on the outcome of the game.
Illinois Fighting Illini
The Illinois Fighting Illini had an up-and-down season, finishing with a record of 20-12 and going 11-9 in the Big Ten conference. They were ranked as high as #17 in the AP Top 25 poll but struggled to maintain consistency throughout the season. However, they are a dangerous team and have the talent to make a deep run in the tournament.
One of Illinois' biggest strengths is their offense. They averaged 76.8 points per game, which ranked 46th in the country. They are led by guard Trent Frazier, who averaged 14.2 points per game and shot 39.1% from three-point range. Frazier is an excellent scorer who can shoot from outside or get to the rim and finish through contact. He is also a solid defender who can generate steals and disrupt opposing offenses.
Another key player for the Fighting Illini is center Kofi Cockburn. The 7'0" sophomore is a force in the paint and averaged 15.2 points and 10.4 rebounds per game this season. Cockburn is a dominant rebounder who can also protect the rim and alter shots. He will be a handful for the Razorbacks' frontcourt and could be the difference-maker in the game.
Illinois' defense is also solid, allowing just 68.3 points per game this season. They are particularly effective at forcing turnovers, ranking 14th in the country with 9.7 steals per game. They have a number of active defenders who can disrupt passing lanes and create transition opportunities.
However, Illinois has had some issues with consistency this season. They have suffered some unexpected losses and have had trouble closing out games. They also rely heavily on Frazier and Cockburn for their scoring, and if those two players have an off day, their offense can struggle.
The Arkansas Razorbacks had a strong season, finishing with a record of 20-13 and going 8-10 in the SEC conference. They are a well-coached team that plays hard on both ends of the court and has the potential to surprise some people in the tournament.
One of Arkansas' biggest strengths is their offense. They averaged 78.9 points per game, which ranked 19th in the country. They are led by guard Ronnie Council IV, who averaged 15.9 points per game and shot 44.5% from the field. Council is an explosive scorer who can get to the rim and finish through contact or knock down shots from outside. He is also a solid defender who can generate steals and disrupt opposing offenses.
Another key player for the Razorbacks is forward Myron Mitchell. The 6'7" junior averaged 10.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game this season. Mitchell is an athletic and versatile player who can score inside and out, and his ability to stretch the floor with his shooting could create matchup problems for Illinois.
Arkansas' defense is also strong, allowing just 71.8 points per game this season. They are particularly effective at forcing turnovers, ranking 22nd in the country with 8.9 steals per game. They have a number of active defenders who can disrupt passing lanes and create transition opportunities.
However, the Razorbacks have struggled with consistency at times this season. They have had some unexpected losses and have struggled on the road, going just 3-8 away from home. They also rely heavily on Council and Mitchell for their scoring, and if those two players have an off day, their offense can struggle.
Illinois are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games.
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Illinois's last 6 games.
Illinois are 5-0 SU in their last 5 games.
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Illinois's last 6 games played in March.
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Illinois's last 7 games played on a Thursday.
Arkansas are 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games.
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Arkansas' last 7 games.
Arkansas are 9-2 SU in their last 11 games.
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Arkansas' last 6 games played in March.
Both teams are evenly matched in terms of their overall records and statistics, but Arkansas has a few key advantages that could give them the edge.
Firstly, the Razorbacks have played in a tougher conference than the Fighting Illini. The SEC is widely regarded as one of the strongest basketball conferences in the country, and Arkansas has faced tough competition throughout the season. This experience could give them an advantage in a high-pressure tournament game.
Secondly, Arkansas has a deeper bench than Illinois. While both teams rely heavily on their starters for scoring, the Razorbacks have a few players who can come off the bench and make an impact. For example, guard Davonte Davis averaged 8.2 points per game this season and could provide a spark off the bench if needed.
Finally, Arkansas has been playing better basketball in recent weeks. They have won four of their last six games, including a close loss to Texas A&M in the SEC tournament. On the other hand, Illinois has lost four of their last six games, including a loss to Penn State in the Big Ten tournament.
Taking all of these factors into consideration, we predict that Arkansas will win this game and cover the -2 point spread. They have the advantage in terms of conference strength and depth, and their recent form has been better than Illinois'. However, this should be a closely contested game, and it wouldn't be surprising to see it come down to the wire.
PICK: Arkansas -2 (-110)
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