NCAA Betting Preview: Illinois at Purdue

By: Brad Young | Monday, February 28, 2011

The Purdue Boilermakers rose to sixth in the latest AP and coaches polls.

March Madness begins with conference play, and progresses to conference tournaments before graduating to the NCAA Tournament.  Tuesday’s March 1 features a quality Big Ten matchup when Illinois (18-11 straight up, 14-14-1 against the spread) visits eighth-ranked Purdue (24-5 SU, 18-8 ATS).

The Illini currently find themselves in a three-way tie for fourth place in the conference with Michigan State and Penn State.  Illinois is also projected to be a 10th seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, one of six Big Ten teams expected to make the Big Dance.

Purdue finds itself a game behind first-place Ohio State, and a game ahead of third-place Wisconsin.  The Boilermakers are expected to be around a second seed for the NCAA Tournament heading into March.

Illinois was mired in a two-game SU losing streak before throttling Iowa Saturday as 11-point home ‘chalk,’ 81-68.  The combined 149 points toppled the 135-point closing total, helping the ‘over’ cash the second consecutive contest.  The Illini are now just 1-3-1 ATS the past five games.

Illinois finished the contest with advantages in rebounding (30-26) and assists (21-15), while shooting a stellar 55 percent (31-of-56) from the field and 33 percent (6-of-18) from behind the arc.  Center Mike Tisdale led all scorers with 25 points along with five rebounds, while forward Mike Davis added 20 and nine.

Purdue extended its SU and ATS winning streak to six games after blasting Michigan State Sunday as a one-point road underdog, 67-47.  The combined 114 points never seriously threatened the 133 ½-point closing total, helping the ‘under’ cash the second game in a row.

The Boilermakers jumped out to a nine-point halftime advantage, 33-24, and finished the contest with advantages in rebounding (33-32) and assists (14-11).  Purdue shot 44 percent (25-of-57) from the field, and 37 percent (7-of-19) from 3-point land.

Center JaJuan Johnson paced the offense with 20 points and 17 rebounds, while guard E’Twaun Moore added 17.  Guard Lewis Jackson was the only other player to reach double digits in scoring with 16 while also delivering seven assists.

Purdue is 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS the previous four encounters with Illinois.  The Boilermakers won the lone matchup this season Feb. 13 as 2 ½-point road ‘chalk,’ 81-70, while the combined 151 points eclipsed the 135-point closing total.  The ‘over’ has cashed the last four games in this series, and is 8-1 the previous nine.

Illinois guard Joseph Bertrand is ‘questionable’ versus the Boilermakers due to an injured hip.  The Illini conclude their regular season with Saturday’s home matchup versus Indiana.  Illinois has seen the ‘under’ go 8-1 the last nine Tuesday games.

Purdue wraps up its regular season with Saturday’s road matchup against Iowa.  The Boilermakers are 7-2 ATS their last nine Tuesday games, while the ‘over’ is 7-2-1 the previous 10 Tuesday contests.

ESPN will provide coverage of Tuesday’s Big Ten affair beginning at 4:00 p.m. PT from Purdue’s Mackey Arena.  The telecast is followed by the Vanderbilt, Kentucky matchup at Rupp Arena.

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