clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How and what to watch for No. 4 Illinois vs. No. 7 Ohio state

We break down everything you need to know for Saturday’s college basketball matchup between No. 4 Illinois and No. 7 Ohio State. We’ve got a best bet, how to watch, and key stats for the game.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Update 4:10 p.m. Ayo Dosunmu will play for the Illini in today’s game.

The No. 4 Illinois Fighting Illini still have a shot at the Big Ten title, but in order to capture the top spot, they’ll need to beat the No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes Friday night in Columbus.

Illinois (19-6, 15-4 B1G) are coming off their biggest win of the season over No. 2 Michigan earlier in the week. The Illini are on a three-game win streak and have won four of their last five games. Over that span, they’re scoring about 81 points, which is their season average. They’re led by Ayo Dosunmu, who’s scoring 21 points per game but has missed the last three outings with a facial injury. Center Kofi Cockburn is scoring nearly 18 each game, and also leads the team in boards with nearly 10 per game. On the other end of the floor, they’re allowing opponents to score just under 69 points per game, but have given up just 54 on average over their last five games. KenPom has them ranked as the ninth-best team in the nation in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

The Buckeyes (18-7, 12-7 B1G) are trending in the wrong direction. They’ve lost three games in a row heading into their final regular-season tilt. During that time they’ve scored just 70 points per game, much less than their season average of 78 points per contest. OSU is led by E.J. Liddell and Duane Washington Jr., who average 16 and 15 points per game respectively. On defense for the season, they’re giving up an average of 70 points per game, though over the last three they’ve allowed an average of 79 to their opponents.

The first time these two teams met this season, the Buckeyes came away with an 87-81 win. KenPom is giving Illinois a 52% chance to come away with a road win to close out the season.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

You can watch No. 4 Illinois vs. No. 7 Ohio State on Saturday, March 6 at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN. The game will be available via live stream on ESPN+, a subscription service available as an add-on from ESPN even for non-subscribers. If you don’t have a cable login to access ESPN for live stream, you can get a free trial from YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, AT&T TV Now, FuboTV, or Sling TV to stream the game.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends

Point spread: Ohio State -2
Point Total: 151
Money line: Illinois +110, Ohio State -136

  • The Illini have covered the spread well recently, going 4-1 ATS in their last five games
  • The over has hit in all but one of Illinois’ last five games
  • The point total has gone over in four of the last six matchups between these two teams

The Best Bet

This is a virtual toss-up with Ohio State coming into Saturday’s as a razor-thin home favorite. Even with the skill both teams possess, 151.5 may be a bit high, making the under the way to go in this colossal regular season finale.

Pick: Under 151

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA/MI), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (NH/CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-888-532-3500 (VA) or call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN). 21+ (18+ NH). CO/IL/IN/IA/NH/NJ/PA/TN/VA/WV/MI only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See for full terms and conditions.