Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Marquette Golden Eagles Predictions

by | Nov 15, 2021 | cbb

Illinois Fighting Illini (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Marquette Golden Eagles (2-0 SU, 0-2 ATS)

When: Monday, November 15, 7 p.m.

Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee

TV: ESPN

Point Spread: ILL -8.5/MARQ +8.5 (BetNow - Deposit $100 get $100 FREE! Deposit $500 get $500 FREE! Deposit $1000 and get $1000 FREE! The BEST bonus from a legit online bookie!)

Moneyline: ILL -400/MARQ +320

Total: 143.5

Last Time Out:

Illinois hammered Arkansas State 92-53; Marquette edged New Hampshire 75-70.

About the Matchup:

Illinois wasn’t thrilled about how last season ended, as what was supposed to be a brilliant season where the Illini contended for the Final Four wound up in ashes when they were picked off by Loyola in the second round. Not only did they not bring Ayo Dosunmu back from that team, but they won’t have Kofi Cockburn for this game either, as he’s serving the third and final game of an NCAA suspension after committing an NLI violation a month before capitalizing on name and likeness became legal for athletes.

So far, Illinois has weathered the storm without its big man, and there’s a good chance the Illini can do it again in this game, as Marquette hasn’t looked all that great in its first two games and doesn’t have a huge presence in the interior either. The Golden Eagles have a lot further to go than the Illini do, and they’ve looked like a team with a long way to go in matchups with New Hampshire and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. Marquette has one strong shooter in Darryl Morsell, but will that be enough to keep pace with the Illini minus Cockburn?

Scouting the Fighting Illini:

Here’s the reason why Illinois is still able to get the job done without Cockburn: they’ve got another quality big man behind him in Coleman Hawkins. So far, Hawkins hasn’t missed a beat in taking over the job on a temporary basis, scoring 17 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in an easy win against an overmatched Arkansas State.

Beyond him, Illinois will need the guard play to step up, which really hasn’t happened so far. The 3-point shooting was not good against the Red Wolves, and with Marquette actually shooting it well from behind the arc, Illinois is either going to need to get more out of Andre Curbelo from the perimeter or overwhelm the Golden Eagles in the paint. Shooting 5-for-25 from the perimeter isn’t going to cut it if Illinois is going to cover a spread that’s nearly double digits.

Scouting the Golden Eagles:

Darryl Morsell is a genuine scorer, but beyond him, the Golden Eagles haven’t really proven that they can do the job. Take Morsell out of the equation, and the rest of the Golden Eagles would have shot a combined 33.3 percent from the field against the Wildcats, which would have meant an embarrassing loss to a team that hasn’t made the postseason in any way since 2017.

That really doesn’t bode well when you’re facing a defense as strong as Illinois and you’re trying to push the tempo far too fast for what you have. Shaka Smart appears to be leaning a bit more toward the speedy success he had at VCU as opposed to the slower struggles he had at Texas, and this is definitely a learning process in his first year in Milwaukee. The defense will be strong for the Golden Eagles, but points might be a bit of a problem for them.

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Illinois will Cover If:

The Illini can speed up the game to their liking and force the Golden Eagles into bad shots. Marquette’s shooting is poor as it is; the Golden Eagles really can’t afford to spend the game getting blocked from their shooting spots and unable to do much on offense.

Marquette will Cover If:

Justin Lewis can hold his own in the paint. Morsell is the main weapon on this team, but Lewis is every bit as important to Marquette’s overall success and might be even more important in this game. If Hawkins is able to win the battle inside, it’s difficult to see Marquette doing much of anything to keep this close.

Dan’s Best Prop Bets

Backing Illinois to top 75.5 points makes a lot of sense. New Hampshire would have done it if the Wildcats could shoot free throws against Marquette, and Illinois likes to push the tempo. The Illini should be looking at around 80 points here.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread

A team that couldn’t put away New Hampshire is really going to struggle with Illinois, with or without Cockburn. The Illini know what they’re doing playing fast, and Marquette simply isn’t to that level at this point. The Golden Eagles are going to have a hard time staying in this game for 40 minutes, and I don’t like their chances.

I’m taking Illinois. Question: When you bet on games, are you laying -110 odds? Of course you are! That’s been the standard since betting began! Not anymore though! Did you know you could be laying only -105? Spend 5 minutes and make the switch to BAS Sportsbook TODAY! You’ll be so glad you did!