Illinois at Ohio State Betting Preview, Selection, Odds

Game: Illinois at Ohio State (-6)

Sharp: Dave Miller

Selection: Illinois (+6)

It's a big one in the Big Ten on Thursday night as No. 23 Illinois (20-9, 12-6 Big Ten) travels to No. 19 Ohio State (20-9, 10-8) for a tilt at Value City Arena in Columbus, where the Buckeyes will host a 60-year reunion for the team's 1960 national championship team on Senior Night.

The Fighting Illini remained hot with a home win over Indiana this past Sunday behind the heroics once again of sophomore guard Ayo Dosunmu, who scored a game-high 17 points, including a clutch 3-pointer late. Kofi Cockburn added 15 points and six blocked shots as Brad Underwood's squad won its fourth straight. The Illini even received a contribution from sophomore forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili, who lost his starting role but chipped in 6 points and 6 rebounds from the post.

Chris Holtmann's Buckeyes, meanwhile, reached the 20-win plateau this past Sunday with a 77-63 win over Michigan at Value City Arena for their eighth win in their last 10 games. All five starters scored in double figures, with Duane Washington Jr. tying a career high with 20 points, and CJ Walker adding 15 and six rebounds. Andre Wesson and Kaleb Wesson each had 14 points as the Buckeyes connected on 11-of-21 shots from 3-point range.

Holtmann said freshman forward Alonzo Gaffney remains out, while junior forward Kyle Young remains day to day with an ankle injury. But during this 5-1 stretch, the Buckeyes have had five players averaging in double figures: the brothers Wesson, Washington Jr., Luther Muhammad and Walker, who has really protected the basketball well as of late. The Florida State transfer has stepped up in the absence of freshman guard D.J. Carton, with his assist-to-turnover ratio nearly doubling with his increased minutes.

Meanwhile, Underwood has done a fantastic coaching job this season with a group that can at least tie for its first Big Ten regular season championship since its national runner-up team in 2004-05 if it can defeat Ohio State and Iowa this weekend. The Illini are just a season removed from a brutal 12-21 campaign with the 21 losses setting a new school record.

Ohio State is playing very good basketball with the Big Ten Tournament just a week away, while Illinois is one of two Big Ten teams with an above .500 road record. Illinois is sitting at +6, so it's tough to not take Dosunmu and his crew with that number.


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