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How and what to watch for No. 5 Illinois vs. Michigan State

Illinois is on a roll having won seven straight, while MSU has lost two of their last three

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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.  Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 5 Illinois Fighting Illini have been on fire recently and look to continue that trend as they head to East Lansing to take on the Michigan State Spartans on Tuesday.

Illinois (16-5, 12-3 Big Ten) continues to dominate their competition in recent weeks. The last time they took the court they beat Minnesota by 31 points. They’re scoring nearly 82 points per game and giving up just 68 to their opponents. KenPom has the Illini ranked as the 8th best offense in the nation and their defense isn’t far behind, clocking in at the 9th best in America. Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn are the driving forces behind the offense. They average 21 and 18 points per game respectively, and Cockburn is grabbing more than 10 boards each time out as well.

The Spartans (11-9, 5-9 Big Ten) came into this season with sky-high expectations, but have failed to meet them time and time again. They started the season 6-0, even taking down a top-6 Duke team at the time, but went into a full tailspin once Big Ten play started. All of MSU’s losses this season have come against conference rivals. Dating back to Christmas day, they’re 5-8 overall and in their last 10, they’re 4-6. Offensively they’re scoring just over 70 points per game, but they allow over 71 per contest on average. The Big Ten is a very good conference this season, so they’re still ranked in KenPom in the top 100 schools in both categories, but that won’t help when facing top-25 opponents day in and day out. Aaron Henry is scoring 15 points per game and there’s only one other Michigan State player averaging double figures.

KenPom is giving the Illini a 79% chance to go on the road and take a win in this one.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

You can watch Illinois vs. Michigan State on Tuesday, February 23rd at 7:00 p.m. ET on FS1, 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 -6
Point Total: 144.5
Money line: Illinois vs. Michigan State

  • Illinois' stellar defense has been on display recently, causing the under to hit in eight of their last 12 games.
  • The Illini have covered the spread pretty easily over the last few weeks too, going 5-2 ATS in their last seven.
  • On the flip side, MSU hasn’t been a reliable bet to cover in months, going 3-14 ATS in their last 17.
  • But the Spartan offense has made betting on them easy, as the under is hitting 70% of the time over the last two months.

The Best Bet

Illinois has won seven straight games since its last loss to No. 4 Ohio State and hasn’t lost on the road since Dec. 20. Michigan State has lost to ranked opponents by an average of 15.5 points. It’s very likely that the favorites will cover the spread given how the Spartans have performed against elite competition.

Pick: Illinois -6

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