Purdue Boilermakers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Purdue Boilermakers (14-3 SU, 7-9-1 ATS) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (12-6 SU, 6-10 ATS), 9:00 p.m. EST, Tuesday, January 19, 2009, Assembly Hall, Champaign, Ill. TV: ESPN
by Ryno of Predictem.com

Point Spread: Purdue -3/Illinois +3
Over/Under: 137

Two weeks ago, the Purdue Boilermakers were undefeated and looking like one of the best teams in the country. But since then, the Boilermakers have lost three games in a row and now are desperate for a victory. They will try to get back on the winning track when they face the Illinois Fighting Illini at Assembly Hall, a tough place for opposing teams to win at.

Purdue got a huge statement win over also-undefeated West Virginia at home on January 1, 77-62. The Boilermakers then got another dominating victory right afterwards in their Big Ten opener, 79-60 at home over Minnesota. But they suffered their first loss at Wisconsin, 73-66, and then lost at home to Evan Turner and Ohio State, 70-66, in a game that the Boilermakers had control of the whole game until the final four minutes when the Buckeyes went on a run and stole a road victory.

In their last game, the Boilermakers lost 72-64 at Northwestern on Saturday. E’Twaun Moore and Robbie Hummel both played well, but those were the only two Purdue players with more than seven points. Moore had 24 points and Hummel, who scored 29 points in the first half alone against Ohio State, had 20 points and six rebounds in the loss at Northwestern. The Boilermakers were out-rebounded by 11 (only 20 total rebounds for the game for Purdue) and shot 36 percent from the field. Northwestern shot 46 percent from the field and shot 11 more free throw attempts than Purdue. The good news for the Boilermakers was that they only committed six turnovers.

Illinois has had an up-and-down season. The Illini have looked good at times and not so good at other times. They are 10-0 at home, so they certainly can beat anyone at Assembly Hall. But they haven’t been very good at all on the road. Luckily, this game is at home, so the Illini have a chance to hand Purdue its fourth straight loss.

The Illini started off 4-0 in the Big Ten with wins over Northwestern, Iowa, Indiana and Penn State, none of which were particularly impressive. Their last game was a 73-63 loss at Michigan State on Saturday. They hung in there against a very good team on the road but they just couldn’t get over the hump in the end. They shot 35 percent from the field and 6-for-25 from 3-point range, they got out-rebounded by nine, and they committed 17 turnovers. Demetri McCamey led the Illini with 15 points, Mike Davis had 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting, and freshman Tyler Griffey had 12 points and seven rebounds in only 15 minutes of action.

Purdue’s strength is its ability to create turnovers, as the Boilermakers are forcing 18.4 per game while only turning it over 11.6 times per game themselves. They are shooting 46 percent from the field and their opponents are shooting 39 percent. Their weakness is in the 3-point shooting department, where they are shooting 31.4 percent and allowing opponents to shoot 37 percent.

Illinois is shooting 47.3 percent from the field and holding opponents to 39.9 percent. The Illini are shooting 35.5 percent from 3-point range, holding opponents to 29.4 percent from beyond the arc, and out-rebounding opponents by about five boards per game.

Purdue is 2-6 ATS in its last eight games as a favorite and the same record overall in its last eight games. The Boilermakers are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games as a road favorite. Despite being 10-0 at home this season, the Illini are just 4-9 ATS in their last 13 home games. They are also 2-6 ATS in their last eight games overall, 1-6 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS win, and 0-4 ATS in their last four games as a home underdog. The road team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between Purdue and Illinois, and the over is 5-1 in the last six meetings between these teams.

Ryno’s Pick: Purdue was among the nation’s elite before its last three games and now finds themselves on the road trying to break a cold streak vs. a mediocre team that plays VERY well at home. More bad news for the Boilers here. Take Illinois plus the points.