The Eastern Illinois Panthers and the Illinois Fighting Illini meet Monday in college basketball action from State Farm Center. Eastern Illinois is coming off a disappointing season last year, going just 5-26 overall. As for Illinois, they managed to go 23-10 overall and snag a Big Ten Conference regular season co-championship. Check back all season long for free college basketball picks at Sports Chat Place.
Eastern Illinois had another lost season in 2021-22, failing to match their 9-18 mark from a year before. The Panthers went just 5-26 overall and 3-15 in the Ohio Valley Conference matchups. That left Eastern Illinois in last place in the conference standings and out of the tournament.
There weren’t too many high points to speak of in Eastern Illinois’ campaign last season. The Panthers won consecutive games just once all year, and emerged from the non-conference schedule at just 2-11. It didn’t get much better after that.
Over on the Illinois side, they had a pretty successful season last year even if it ended a bit abruptly. the Illini went 23-10 overall and 15-5 in a tough Big Ten. That result left Illinois tied with Wisconsin atop the conference standings at the end of the regular season.
Illinois’ Big Ten Tournament run didn’t last very long; the Illini fell 65-63 to Indiana in their first game. After a selection to the NCAA Tournament, Illinois beat Chattanooga in the First Round before falling to Houston 68-53 in their second outing.
Eastern Illinois is 16-37 ATS in their last 53 overall and 1-5 ATS in their last six Monday games. Illinois is 2-6 ATS in their last eight Monday games and 0-5 ATS in their last five overall.
PICK: I’m probably staying with Illinois. The Illini have quickly vaulted themselves into the national conversation after a period of irrelevance, posting at least 20 wins for three straight seasons. Illinois is once again projected to have a big year in 2022-23, but the team needs to find more postseason wins to be considered a success. The Illini lose a host of guys from last season (Kofi Cockburn and Trent Frazier being the most notable), but four-star recruits Skyy Clark, Jayden Epps, Sincere Harris and Ty Rodgers should soften the blow. It’s tough to know what this year’s Illini squad will look like, but they get an easy matchup to start things off.