The No. 9 Penn State Nittany Lions (20-5, 10-4 Big 10) put their eight-game winning streak on the line when they challenge the Illinois Fighting Illini (16-9, 8-6 Big 10) at Bryce Jordan Center. The game gets underway at 6:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.
Penn State opens as a 6.5 point favorite over Illinois with a total of 139.5 at Pointsbet Indiana Sportsbook.
Illinois Fighting Illini at Penn State Nittany Lions Free Prediction
In the Fighting Illini’s last matchup, they were defeated by the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, 72-57. Rutgers’ 0.555 effective field goal percentage was their largest advantage over Illinois, who had a rate of 0.377. The Scarlet Knights’ mark was above their season average of 0.493, while the Fighting Illini’s was below their season average of 0.495. Kofi Cockburn had a good game for Illinois, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Nittany Lions beat the Northwestern Wildcats in their last outing, 77-61. The Nittany Lions held the Wildcats to an offensive rebounding percentage of 14.7 (below their season average of 23.4). The Wildcats had a free throw rate of 0.086 (below their season average of 0.199). Lamar Stevens was the top scorer from either team with 23 points on 8-for-17 shooting from the field.
After the Nittany Lions won both matchups against the Fighting Illini last season, these teams will meet for the first time this year. In the last contest, Penn State won 72-56. The Nittany Lions had a much better effective field goal percentage (0.500 vs. 0.387) and had a better turnover percentage (18.4 vs. 22.8).
Penn State could put on a ball-control clinic in this battle. Penn State ranks 27th in the NCAA at avoiding errors (turnover percentage of 16.3 percent), while Illinois forces the 74th-fewest turnovers (17.7 percent).
Illinois vs. Penn State Pick
Free Prediction: ATS Winner – Penn State, O/U – Under
Illinois ranks 15th in rebounds per game (40.1) while Penn State ranks 226th in rebounds allowed per game (37.1).
The Nittany Lions rank 38th in steals per game (8.1) while the Fighting Illini rank 225th (4.9).
Penn State ranks 69th in three pointers attempted per game (24.5) while Illinois ranks 255th (18.2).
The Nittany Lions rank 14th in blocks per game (5.2) while the Fighting Illini rank 134th (2.8).
Penn State ranks 43rd in assists per game (14.8) while Illinois ranks 129th (13.3).
The Fighting Illini have been outscored by an average of 4.8 points in their last five games. On the season, Illinois has defeated opponents by an average of 7.8 points.
During their last five games, the Nittany Lions have scored an average of 79.8 points per game (2.3 above their season average) and allowed an average of 69.6 points per game (2.2 above their season average).