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Boston University Terriers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini NIT First Round Pick-Odds-Prediction 3/19/14

Illinois Fighting Illini (19-14) at Boston University Terriers (24-10)

College Basketball: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 7:00 pm (Case Gymnasium)

The Line: Boston University Terriers -1 -- Over/Under: 125.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN2

The Illinois Fighting Illini and the Boston Terriers battle in 2-7 NIT action Wednesday night at 7PM on ESPN2.

Illinois finished the regular season 19-14 but were just 7-11 in conference play.  The Fighting Illini lost a lot of narrow contests and that ultimately doomed their NCAA tourney hopes.  Illinois lost 8 games in a row during conference play and were unable to rally enough down the stretch to turn things around.  The Fighting Illini are led by Rayvonte Rice who averages 15 points per game and is also second on the team in boards with 6 per game.  Tracy Abrams runs the point for the Illini and is second on the team in scoring with 11 points per game and just over 3 assists per contest.  Despite a decent overall record, the Illini rank well into the bottom half of D-1 in both team assists (10.1 per game) and points per game (64.6) -- both ranking 300+ overall.

Boston University Terriers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini NIT First Round Pick-Odds-Prediction 3/19/14

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Boston locked in the 7 slot in the NIT after losing to American in the patriot league final 55-36.  The Terriers were expected to dance this season and fell twice to American during the season.  Maurice Watson Jr. is the engine that drives the Terriers offense -- the shifty guard averages a team high 13.5 points per game and leads the team in assists as well with 6.9 per game.  At 5-10, opposing defenses struggle to keep in front of Watson.  D.J. Irving joins Watson in the backcourt and is averaging 12.2 points per game and 2.3 assists as well.  The Terriers rank 84th in the country with 13.9 assists per game.  Boston has won 9 of their past 11 contests.

Boston has been solid against high level competition this year with wins at Maryland and narrow losses to UConn and GW.  The Terriers certainly have the talent to hang tough in this one but I have to go with the home team here.  Illinois has been solid of late and came a missed jumper away from defeating Michigan in the conference tournament.  Look for a 2nd half pullaway for the Iliini in this one with the cover and win at home.

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Illinois +1

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