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Illinois State vs. Central Florida - 3/20/17 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Central Florida Knights (22-11) at Illinois State Redbirds (28-6)

College Basketball: Monday, March 20, 2017 at 7:00 pm (Redbird Arena)

The Line: Illinois State Redbirds -4 -- Over/Under: 126 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN

On Monday evening in NIT college basketball tournament action from Redbird Arena, we’ve got a matchup between the UCF Knights and the Illinois State Redbirds. 

UCF enters this game with a 22-11 record overall. The Knights had a six-game winning streak going before a loss to SMU on March 11, but bounced back with a first-round tournament win over Colorado on Wednesday. 

Illinois State vs. Central Florida - 3/20/17 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

Heading the offense for UCF this season is BJ Taylor, with 17.5 PPG, 4.1 RPG and 3.6 APG to his credit. Also in double-digits for the Knights are Matt Williams (15.0 PPG; 4.3 RPG) and Tacko Fall (11.1 PPPG; 9.5 RPG). 

Over on the Illinois State side, they’re sitting at 28-6 on the season. The Redbirds had an eight-game winning streak snapped by Wichita State on March 5, then after being shunned by the selection committee they bagged a win over UC Irvine in their first-round NIT game. 

Tops in offense for Illinois State are Deontae Hawkins (14.0 PPG: 6.6 RPG) and Paris Lee (13.1 PPG; 5.1 APG). Also in double-digits for the Redbirds is MiKyle McIntosh (12.7 PPG; 5.7 RPG), while Phil Fayne (9.2 PPG; 6.4 RPG) is close. 

UCF is 5-2 ATS in their last seven Monday games, and 2-5 ATS in their last seven road games. UCF is also 1-4 ATS in their last five games following an ATS win, and 1-4 ATS in their last five non-conference games. 

Meanwhile, Illinois State is 5-1 ATS in their last six non-conference games, and 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. Illinois State is also 3-7 ATS in their last 10 home games, and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight-up win. 

This should be a pretty good matchup overall, as both these teams definitely have some talent. Illinois State seems a notch above here, though, as the Redbirds easily could have found their way into the NCAA Tournament. With a quartet of capable scorers and three players with at least 5.7 RPG, I think the Redbirds can take this relatively easily. Give me Illinois State. 

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Illinois State Redbirds -4

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