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[CBK] Jan 11, 2018

NCAA Basketball Betting Preview: Iowa at Illinois

By Gracenote

Iowa Hawkeyes at Illinois Fighting Illini (-5.5)

Two teams still searching for their first Big Ten Conference win of the season square off Wednesday night as Iowa visits Illinois. The Hawkeyes are coming off back-to-back subpar defensive efforts in losses to Ohio State and Maryland, while the Fighting Illini look to rebound from consecutive 10-point road losses to Minnesota and Michigan.

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery's early-season frustrations finally boiled over in Sunday night's 91-73 defeat at the hands of the Terrapins, as he was handed consecutive technical fouls and subsequently ejected for arguing a traveling call. The Illini put up their own fight against the Wolverines on Saturday, leading by three at the half before falling apart after the break en route to a 79-69 defeat.

ABOUT IOWA (9-9, 0-5 Big Ten): The Hawkeyes' ball movement has been a thing to behold so far this season as they rank fifth in the nation in assists at 19.2 per game, with Jordan Bohannon leading the way with five per contest and eight other regulars averaging between one and two assists. Tyler Cook paces the team in scoring (14.7) and rebounds (6.3), but was held to just seven points in 27 foul-ridden minutes against Maryland after averaging 24.5 points over his previous two games.

ABOUT ILLINOIS (10-7, 0-4): For all that has gone wrong for the Illini this season, particularly in conference play, there are actually reasons for optimism - starting with the fact that Illinois comes into Wednesday ranked sixth in the nation in turnovers forced per game (18.7). They are also just outside the top 25 among Division I schools in average turnover differential (plus-3.9) despite struggling to hold on to the basketball themselves. Leron Black leads the team in scoring at 14.3 points per game but was limited to just seven in 20 largely ineffective minutes against the Wolverines while Michael Finke (10.6) is the only other Illinois player averaging in double figures, although he was limited to nine combined points in the losses to Minnesota and Michigan.


1. Iowa and Illinois are the only Big Ten teams without a conference victory this season.

2. The Hawkeyes rank 29th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.39), while the Illini sit 231st (0.96).

3. Bohannon has dished out 15 assists over his past two games.
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