ESB “GAME OF NIGHT”: MARYLAND @ ILLINOIS PREVIEW (2-7-20)
ELITE SHADOW BETS “GAME OF THE NIGHT” FULL PREVIEW: MARYLAND @ ILLINOIS (FRI. FEB. 7, 2020) – FS1 TV (8PM/EST)
HUGE BIG 10 BATTLE FOR FIRST PLACE ON RARE FRIDAY NIGHTS PRIME TIME TV GAME IN CHAMPAIGN!
VEGAS BETTING ODDS: ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI (-3) vs. MARYLAND TERPS ~ TOTAL: (130)
MARYLAND (18-4) – (8-3 BIG 10/1ST) – (2-4 ROAD SEASON) — ILLINOIS (16-6) – (8-3 BIG 10/1ST) – (12-1 HOME SEASON)
Well folks the Friday night card for College Hoops is usually bare from any higher end type teams as they all play Saturday but tonight we get a super treat on Fox Sports 1 TV as the two teams tied for first place in the Big 10, Maryland and Illinois (both 8-3), tangle for a second time this evening in Champaign, Illinois. The Terps won the first meeting 59-58 after trailing at the Half by 14 points. Neither team shot well, and both were horrible from the 3-ball with Illinois (3-14) and Maryland (8-31). Maryland just played outstanding “D” in the second half and snuck out the 1 point win. Maryland has an incredible 7 comeback wins this season when they’ve trailed by at least 8 points.
Once again we will witness two of the very Best Defensive teams in the nation as the Terps are #6 and Illini #27 in the nation from the Defensive Efficiency Department. Illinois leads the Big Ten in points allowed at just (61.2) and the Terps are second allowing only (62.4) points per game. Maryland is 1st in Big 10 in fouls committed and they have shot the most Free Throws. They are 3rd in blocks and 4th overall in FG Def (38%). In their last 2 games they have allowed just 37% and 33% FG shooting, both wins. Maryland comes in here with 2 straight Road wins, after losing their first 4 games on the Road. Illinois is (12-1) at Home this year and a perfect (5-0) at Home in Big 10 play. They are the 4th best Rebounding Margin per game team (+9.4) in the entire nation.
The Illini had a 7 game win streak snapped with a late meltdown at Iowa but since their one and only Home loss of the season, they’ve won at Home by 9, 14, 29, 26, 3, 4 and 8 points. Maryland has now won 5 straight, including two wins when down 14 points and is off a really nice comeback over a “game” Rutgers club that led for a good portion of that game. Maryland has one of the 2 best PG’s in the Big 10, with A. Cowan a really budding superstar. He is averaging (19.5) points and (4.8) assists in his last 4 games returning to the superstar player most expected him to be this season. They also have another younger stud who is really blossoming, J. Smith. He is averaging (20.3) points per game, (59% FG), and (11.7) Rebounds per game. He also has 13 double-doubles this season and he is shooting lights out (50%) from 3-land the past 4 games and so he’s really becoming impossible to cover.
Illinois goes a solid 7 deep of basically all really talented guys. They can cover Smith with 7 footer K. Cockburn and then throw 6-5 A. Dosunmu at him some too. Cockburn though the past 3 games has gotten into quick foul trouble and only scored 8 pts/6 rebs due to lack of floor time.
ILLINOIS IS PLAYING A HUGE GAME THIS LATE FIRST TIME SINCE 2010
The Fighting Illini have not been in first place this late in Big 10 play since Feb, 2010. They have already beaten two Top 10 teams in Big 10 play, Michigan and Michigan State. This team is no longer soft and they aren’t elite shooting but they play hard nosed Defense the entire 40 minutes.
CAN TERPS 2ND BEST SHOOTER GET BACK ON TRACK AS HE’S ICE COLD
Maryland shooting guard Eric Ayala is now in a bigtime shooting slump, and down right brutal from 3-land (6-32) his last 8 games. He must provide some help to Cowan and Smith tonight to pull off a season sweep and give the Illini it’s first Big 10 Home loss this year.
TERPS D. WILLIAMS FACTOR IN PLAY TONIGHT
The Terps Williams scores double digits and guess what? Maryland is a perfect (11-0) this season when he does that. Add the fact he is from nearby Peoria, Illinois and you can fully expect he’s bringing his A-game tonight.
BOTH HAVE CASHED UNDERS AT VERY STRONG RATE
Maryland has played 13 “UNDERS” this year in 21 games. They have gone “UNDER” 8 of their 12 Road games this year. Illinois has played 13 “UNDERS” in 22 games and 9 of their 13 Home games have went “UNDER” the posted Total.
These two teams are both very good, but both are teams capable of being knocked out in first round of Big Dance, due to Offensive flaws. But for tonight, both will be battling to become the sole leader in the Big 10. For Illinois it’s a much bigger game as they lost to Maryland already and they have Michigan State on deck and Maryland will be hosting terrible Nebraska next. The Terps win would be like a 2 game pad, if not maybe 3 soon. All 4 Maryland losses this season came on the Road. Three were close losses (2, 4 and 7). So they have been very competitive and have never quit, even down large margins. For Illinois they must keep Cockburn out of foul trouble. He must stay on floor to combat Terps Smith. Illinois does play a deeper rotation as the Terps are like a 5 1/2 man rotation. Both play slower tempo games so depth doesn’t often come into play. It’s very tough to beat an equally good team twice so that’s in the Illini favor for this game. I haven’t seen such excitement at the State Farm Center in many a year. It’s now and electric atmosphere and it should be just enough to propel the home squad to a close 5 point win tonight.
Enjoy the game and be sure to “BECOME A MEMBER” right now and take advantage of some off charts winning free picks by the cappers here. Also, THE NETWORK, is just destroying the NBA this season so check him out as well to build your bankroll up in a big way.
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