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How and what to watch for No. 4 Illinois vs. No. 2 Michigan

These teams have combined to lose just one game since January 17.

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NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE 5:35 p.m.: Ayo Dosumnu will be out for the Illini in this one because of his face injury.


One of the games of the year is slated to tipoff Tuesday when the Illinois Fighting Illini head to Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines.

Michigan (18-1, 13-1 B1G) has emerged as one of the best teams in the country and sit atop the Big Ten with just a few games left to go in the regular season. They’re scoring at a pretty high-clip, just over 78 points per game, which KenPom ranks as the fifth-best offense in the nation. The Wolverines are led by Hunter Dickinson, who tops the team with 14.8 points per game and close to eight boards per game as well. Isaiah Livers is right behind him in scoring with 14.5 points per contest. But as good as their offense is, the defense is better ranking as the fourth-best in America by KenPom and they’re only allowing 65 points per game.

The Illini (18-6, 14-4 B1G) had a slip-up just over a week ago when they lost to Michigan State, but aside from that one game they’ve been dominant. in just over a month they’ve defeated three ranked teams, including a top-10 team in Iowa. They’re scoring over 80 points per game, led by Ayo Dosunmu with over 21 points per game and Kofi Cockburn, who’s scoring nearly 18 per game. Cockburn is leading the team in rebounds too, with 10 per game. Defensively though they struggle more than Michigan does, allowing close to 70 points to their opponents, however, they’re still in the top 20 nationally in defensive efficiency. The status of Dosunmu, who has missed the last two games due to a facial injury, will be key here.

KenPom is giving Michigan a 73% chance to come out with a win in this game.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

You can watch Illinois vs. Michigan on Tuesday, March 2nd at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN, or you can stream it via the ESPN app with a cable or streaming service login. If you don’t have a cable login to access the ESPN 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 Updated 5:00 p.m.

Point spread: Michigan -6.5
Point Total: 145
Money line: Illinois +235, Michigan -286

Betting splits from DraftKings Sportsbook as of 5:00 p.m.

Illinois: 36% of action, 43% of bets
Michigan: 64% of action, 57% of bets

  • The total has gone over in all but one of Illinois’ last five games
  • The Illini cover more times than not, going 7-3 ATS in their last 10.
  • The Wolverines have been covering at a similar rate, going 6-1 ATS in their last seven.
  • But the point total is usually lower for UM, the under has hit in five of their last six games.

The Best Bet

Michigan is a perfect 12-0 at home. it won nine of those games by double digits and two of those victories were against ranked programs. Dosunmu’s status is questionable because of a facial injury, and if he doesn't play the Wolverines should cover with ease.

Pick: Michigan -8

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