Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Illinois Fighting Illini – NCAAM March 12

6:30 p.m. ET – Rutgers vs. No. 3 Illinois (-8½) O/U: 137½

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Rutgers +8½ (-110) +295 O 137½ (-115)
Illinois -8½ (-110) -370 U 137½ (-105)

The 15-10 No. 7 seed Scarlet Knights take on the 20-6 No. 2 seed Fighting Illini on Thursday in the Big Ten quarterfinals. Rutgers defeated Indiana 61-50 on Wednesday in the second round to advance to Thursday’s matchup. Illinois finished its regular season on Saturday, defeating Ohio State 73-68 on the road to finish on a four-game winning streak.

These two teams met back on Dec. 20, when the Scarlet Knights secured a 91-88 home victory over the Illini.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights Logo 101x101Guard Ron Harper Jr. leads Rutgers with 15.2 points per game. The son of former NBA standout Ron Harper had 13 points and 11 rebounds in Wednesday’s win over the Hoosiers. The talented Harper also registered 28 points in the first matchup of the season between these two on 9-of-15 shooting, despite being the main focus of the Illini defense.

Illinois Fighting Illini LogoIllinois is led by guard Ayo Dosunmu, who averages 20.9 points per game. Dosunmu missed three games recently with a facial injury, but returned to the hardwood on Saturday to score 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. The star guard had 22 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists in the previous matchup against the Scarlet Knights.

Center Kofi Cockburn stepped up in Dosunmu’s absence, averaging 18.3 points per game while he was sidelined, a time frame that include a big win over Michigan, then ranked No. 2 in the nation.

Please Note:
Illinois has been great against the spread all season, going 17-9, including a 7-3 close to the regular season. While Rutgers has played better over recent weeks to almost certainly secure an NCAA tournament bid, Illinois has firepower that the Scarlet Knights simply cannot match. Dosunmu’s injury allowed other players on the Illini to step into bigger roles and gain more confidence, which will make them an even more dangerous team throughout March.

Considering Illinois is a good foul-shooting team, there is no issue whatsoever backing them to cover the eight-point spread and cruise to the Big Ten semifinals.

The Bet
Illinois -8½
-110

*Odds courtesy of MyBookie

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Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.