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How and what to watch for No. 5 Illinois vs. Minnesota

Illinois has emerged as a legitimate title contender while Minnesota is hovering in the bottom half of the Big Ten.

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Illinois Fighting Illini center Kofi Cockburn is introduced prior to a game against the Northwestern Wildcats at the State Farm Center. 
Illinois Fighting Illini center Kofi Cockburn is introduced prior to a game against the Northwestern Wildcats at the State Farm Center. 
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 5 ranked Illinois Fighting Illini have been on fire recently and look to keep that hot streak up Saturday when they head to the Twin Cities to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

The Illini (15-5, 11-3 B1G have been on a rampage in recent weeks, winning six in a row and 10 of their last 12 games, taking down a couple of Top 25 teams in that span as well. The Illini are averaging over 80 points per game and only giving up about 60 to their opponents. UI’s leading scorer is Ayo Dosunmu, with over 21 points per night, but Kofi Cockburn isn’t far behind with 17 each time out on the floor. They shoot lights-out too, hitting over 50% of their field goals. KenPom ranks them as the 9th most efficient offense and 13th most efficient defense in the nation.

The Gophers (13-9, 6-9 B1G) have lost three of their last five and are trending in the opposite direction. They score an average of 74 points per game, but they’re giving up nearly 73 points to their opponents. Marcus Carr leads the way for Minnesota with 19.4 points per game, but he’s the only real lethal threat on the team. The last time these two squads faced off, Illinois won easily, 92-65.

KenPom gives the Illini a 68% chance to come away with a win in this road tilt.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

You can watch Illinois vs. Minnesota on Saturday, February 20th at 3:30 p.m. ET on Fox, or you can stream it via this link or on the Fox Sports Go app with a cable or streaming service login. If you don’t have a cable login to access the Fox Sports Go app, you can get a free trial from YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, AT&T TV Now, FuboTV, or Sling TV to stream it.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends

Point spread: Illinois -5.5
Point Total: 148
Money line: Illinois -245, Minnesota +195

  • The total has gone under in eight of Illinois’ last 12 games
  • The Fighting Illini are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 against Minnesota
  • The total has gone under in all but three of Minnesota's last 13 games.
  • But the total has gone over seven of the last 10 times these teams have faced off

The Best Bet

Illinois is hitting their peak as a national contender but they haven’t necessarily blown teams out as of late with four of their last five victories coming within single digits.

As mentioned before, Minnesota can score with just about anyone but gives up a fair share of points defensively. This could turn into another explosion on the offensive end for both teams.

Pick: Over 148

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