Illinois Fighting Illini (1-0) vs Oakland Golden Grizzlies (0-1)
2023-11-10 20:00:00 EDT
The Line: Betting Odds: Illinois Fighting Illini -22.5 -- Over/Under:
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The Oakland Golden Grizzlies and the Illinois Fighting Illini meet Friday in college basketball action from State Farm Center. The Grizzlies are 0-1 this year after a close loss to Ohio State in their opener. As for Illinois, they posted a pretty routine win over Eastern Illinois in their first matchup of the season on Monday. Check back all season long for free college basketball picks at Sports Chat Place.
Oakland Golden Grizzles
The Golden Grizzlies took a step back in the 2022-23 season, finishing just 13-19 overall with a 11-9 run in Horizon League play. Oakland landed in fifth place with that effort, but skidded into the postseason with a 2-3 run over the final five outings. The Grizzlies’ season ended with an 81-74 loss to Northern Kentucky in the first game of the conference tourney.
The Grizzlies had a tricky game in their opener on Monday, but the team performed well overall. Oakland had a 35-34 lead on Ohio State heading into the second half but then fell behind in a 79-73 loss. Jack Gohlke topped the team with 18 points, while Trey Townsend added 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
Illinois Fighting Illini
Over on the Illinois side, they managed to make a little noise in a crowded Big Ten last season, going 20-13 overall with a 11-9 conference mark. The Illini would end up in sixth place by season’s end. Illinois lost to Penn State in the first round of the conference tournament, then fell to Arkansas 73-63 in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Illini made short work of Eastern Illinois in their first matchup of the year. Illinois was up 37-25 by the break and cruised on 43 more points from there in an 80-52 blowout victory. Dra Gibbs-Lawhorn posted 18 points with three rebounds and three assists to lead the way. Terrence Shannon added 16 points with five rebounds as well.
ANDREW’S FREE PICK
I’m going to take a stab on the Grizzlies. Oakland made the best of what they had in their opener matchup versus Ohio State, eventually shooting 39.3 percent from the field and 40 percent (14-of-35) from 3-point range. The Grizzlies were really lacking on the boards with a 42-30 rebounding deficit and had zero blocks but they did take care of the ball pretty well with nine turnovers.
As for Illinois, their first win was pretty routine with a 50 percent shooting rate and a 50-40 rebounding edge. The Illini will likely utilize their size to push Oakland around under the basket in this one, so the Grizzlies will have to make high-percentage decisions and start hitting perimeter shots early. If all goes well for Oakland however, I think they’ve got the capability to cover in a good showing here.