Illinois Fighting vs. Tennessee-Martin - 11/12/17 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks (0-1) at Illinois Fighting Illini (1-0)
College Basketball: Sunday, November 12, 2017 at 6:00 pm (State Farm Center)
The Line: Illinois Fighting Illini -17.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
TV: ESPN U
The Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks will travel to the State Farm Center to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini this Sunday night in the Global Sports Invitational.
The Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks will look to get their first win of their 2017-18 season after being defeated by the Marshall Thundering Herd, 102-91 in OT, this past Thursday. Tennessee-Martin held a sizable 46-31 lead at halftime, however, had no answers for Marshall in the 2nd half and couldn’t hang on for victory after giving up 19 points to the Thundering Herd in OT. Leading the way for the Skyhawks was Dominique Williams who had 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 steal. Also contributing for Tennessee-Martin was Matthew Butler (20 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) and Terrence Parker who had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Tennessee-Martin had a successful 2016-17 campaign after finishing the year with an overall record of 22-13. The Skyhawks earned the 2-seed in the conference tournament with a 10-6 conference record, however, couldn’t punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament after falling to Jacksonville State in the OVC Finals. It will be difficult for the Skyhawks to have the same level of success this season this season after losing four starters, including Jacolby Mobley (19.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg), Javier Martinez (12.7 ppg, 8.6 rpg), and Kedar Edwards (12.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg). Tennessee-Martin will rely heavily on the Matthew Butler and Dominique Williams to shoulder the offensive load and will hope that Delfincko Bogan and Terrence Parker can take on bigger roles this season.
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The Illinois Fighting Illini had no problem picking up their first victory of the season after they easily defeated the Southern Jaguars, 102-55, this past Thursday. Illinois was outstanding on the offensive end throughout the entire game and easily cruised to victory after taking a 53-31 halftime lead. Leading the way for the Fighting Illini was Mark Alstork who had a double-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists. Also contributing for Illinois was Leron Black (14 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal) and Michael Finke (12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists). First year head coach Brad Underwood takes over an Illinois team that finished with a 20-15 record last season, however, will need to replace two of their better players in Malcolm Hill (17.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.9 apg, 1.2 spg) and Maverick Morgan (9.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg). Illinois will hope that Leron Black (8.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Michael Finke (6.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg) can take on bigger roles to season for the Fighting Illini and are excited with adding Mark Alstork who averaged 19.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, and 3.5 apg at Wright State last season. Illinois hope that newcomers Mark Smith and Trent Frazier will be able to come in as freshman and provide immediate contributions.
The Skyhawks finished last season with an overall record of 13-15-1 ATS and is just 5-9-1 ATS in their last 15 away games. The Fighting Illini finished last season with a 15-17-1 ATS record and is 6-5-1 ATS as a home favorite.
UT-Martin will most likely take a step-back this season after losing so much talent, however, this is a team that still knows how to push the tempo and score the basketball. Illinois is still probably a year or two out from against being in NCAA contention, however, they do have some solid players in Finke and Alstork however, they will have trouble competing with teams that have size underneath. UT-Martin will have their hands full in trying to slow down the Fighting Illini offense in this one, however, as the Skyhawks should have some success against the Illinois defense, I think this is just too many points to pass up. Take Tennessee-Martin and the points.