Illinois Fighting Illini (20-12) vs Arkansas Razorbacks (20-13)
March 16, 2023 4:30 pm EDT
The Line: Arkansas Razorbacks -3 / Illinois Fighting Illini +3; Over/Under: 144
(Get latest betting odds)
The Illinois Fighting Illini and Arkansas Razorbacks meet Thursday in the college basketball NCAA Tournament First Round at the Wells Fargo Arena. Let’s preview this game and give out a pick and prediction.
The Illinois Fighting Illini are averaging 74.6 points on 45.1 percent shooting and allowing 66.6 points on 41.4 percent shooting. Terrence Shannon Jr. is averaging 17.1 points and 4.7 rebounds, while Matthew Mayer is averaging 12.8 points and 5.5 rebounds. Coleman Hawkins is dishing 3 assists and Jayden Epps is grabbing 1.9 rebounds. The Illinois Fighting Illini are shooting 31 percent from beyond the arc and 68.2 percent from the free throw line. The Illinois Fighting Illini are allowing 33.4 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 35.6 rebounds per game.
The Arkansas Razorbacks are averaging 74.8 points on 47.5 percent shooting and allowing 67.2 points on 41.7 percent shooting. Ricky Council IV is averaging 15.9 points and 3.4 rebounds, while Nick Smith Jr. is averaging 14 points and 2 assists. Anthony Black is the third double-digit scorer and Trevon Brazile is grabbing 6 rebounds. The Arkansas Razorbacks are shooting 32.1 percent from beyond the arc and 69 percent from the free throw line. The Arkansas Razorbacks are allowing 30.9 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 32.5 rebounds per game.
The Fighting Illini are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 neutral site games and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall. The Razorbacks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games and 4-11-1 ATS in their last 16 Thursday games. The over is 4-1 in Fighting Illini last 5 neutral site games. The over is 5-2 in Razorbacks last 7 overall.
This is a matchup of two inconsistent teams, and whichever good version shows up will win the game. We’ve seen these teams at one point look like they could beat anybody, and the next week look like they deserve to be in the NIT. Arkansas is probably the more shaky squad of the two at the moment, and that Illinois duo of Shannon and Mayer is good enough to carry the Fighting Illini deep in the tournament. Give me the free bucket.