The Minnesota Golden Gophers travel to Champagne to face the Illinois Fighting Illini in an intriguing Big Ten match-up on Monday night.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers have been subpar all season and have little to no shot at a post-season berth. Illinois, on the other hand, finds themselves on the March Madness bubble, needing every quality win they can get and can ill-afford to lose to a team with a depleted resume like Minnesota.
Can the Golden Gophers pull off a stunning upset, or will Illinois take care of business on Monday night?
Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini: Betting Odds
|Minnesota||+15 (-110)||O 135.5 (-110)||+900|
|Illinois||-15 (-110)||U 135.5 (-110)||-1500|
Minnesota Forward Dawson Garcia is the go-to scorer for the Golden Gophers. Garcia is the leading scorer and rebounder, shooting 46% from the floor and 33% from deep. Guard Ta’lon Cooper is an ideal running mate for Garcia. Cooper averages 10 points per game while leading Minnesota in assists and steals.
Golden Gophers Forward Pharrel Payne does not receive the acclaim he deserves. Payne averages eight points and five rebounds and leads the team in blocked shots while shooting 65% from the floor.
Minnesota Forward Jamison Battle chips in nightly with 12 points and four rebounds per game.
Illinois Guard Terrence Shannon Jr. is the key contributor to the Illini. Shannon Jr. leads the team in scoring and steals while shooting 44% from the floor and 80% from the free throw line. Forward Coleman Hawkins is ‘Robin’ to Shannon’s ‘Batman’ as he averages ten points per game while leading the team in rebounds and assists.
Illinois Forward Matthew Mayer is an underrated player. Mayer averages 12 points and five rebounds per game while leading Illinois in blocked shots.
Illinois Forward Dain Dainja should be more aggressive on offense. Dainja averages ten points and six rebounds per game while shooting an other-worldly 65%.
Golden Gophers vs. Fighting Illini: Match Details
Fixture: Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini
Date & Time: Monday, February 20, 2023, 9:00 pm ET
Venue: State Farm Center, Champagne, Illinois
Golden Gophers vs. Fighting Illini: Prediction
This game shouldn’t be much of a contest. There is little reason to anticipate an upset, but with a 15-point spread, there is reason to wonder if Illinois will cover. Illinois won by 18 points on Minnesota’s home court the last time these two teams faced off.
It would be reasonable to expect a similar result, but Illinois has struggled lately. The Fighting Illini will win, but I’ll take the Golden Gophers and the points.