Written and authored by NCAA Basketball March Madness Expert Analyst Charlie Red McDougall. Charliessports.com produces it for Basketball news and notes. The teams will play on Thursday March 12th, 2015. At 12:00 PM EST on the Big -Ten Television Network.
The (15-15) Michigan Wolverines of the big-Ten Conference makes the trip from the Wolverine State to the “LAND OF LINCOLN”. Michigan will play the (19-12) Ilinois Fighting Illini also of the Big 10 in 2015 College Basketball Conference Tournament action. The teams will play at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. This Sports Handicapper believes Michigan is performing well despite losing key players to injury. Illinois are in a similar position but like Thursday’s opponent stuck together as a team. The opening betting line has Illinois as a three and a half-point home favorite Against The Spread on a neutral court, the betting odds total is not available for Thursday’s game.
The 2015 Michigan Wolverines lost two of three both straight up and ATS. Michigan beat Rutgers at home in the regular season finale on March 7th. Michigan is 8-10 in Big Ten Conference play and seventh place in the standings. The Wolverines lost their starting backcourt earlier in the season. All Conference Guard Caris Levert has not seen action since January and will miss the rest of the season. Derrick Walton Jr. is out indefinitely with a bad toe (since early February). Michigan Head Coach John Beilein is doing his best job since coming to Ann Arbor from West Virginia. Swingman Zak Irvin is taking up the scoring slack with a team-leading 14.9 points per game. The Michigan offense ranks 111th overall in all of College Basketball. Michigan is 8-2 Against The Spread the last ten between the teams. The Michigan Wolverines are 2-3 their last five NCAA Basketball Point Spread Picks on the road, going over the betting odds total three times and staying under the betting odds total twice. Both games between the teams went into overtime this year with each team getting a win. Michigan has to find a way to score points. The good thing is Michigan scored nearly eighty-points the last two games and will need that kind of effort to advance. Betting Experts in Las Vegas and offshore give Michigan a .24% to win the 2015 Big 10 Conference Tournament Championship.
The 2015 Illinois Fighting Illini won down the stretch. Illinois lost on the road to Purdue in the regular season finale 63-58. Illinois is 9-9 in Conference play and tied with Indiana for sixth place. Illinois lost starting Guard Tracy Abrams for the season back in late October. Abrams backcourt mate Rayvonte Rice is the team’s leading scorer and most efficient player. Illinois Head Coach John Groce is in his third year on the bench since coming over from Ohio University. The faithful in Champaign/Urbana want to start seeing results. The Illini defense allows opponents 62.8 points per contest, fourth in the Big Ten. The Illinois offense scores nearly seventy-points per game. Senior Center Nnanna Egwu is the enforcer in the post and must be a force the frontcourt Thursday. The Illinois Fighting Illini are 6-3-1 their last ten ATS overall, going over the betting odds total three times and staying under the betting odds total seven. The key to an Illinois win is to play tough defense. The Illini are going to be playing in front of a lot of friends, family and fans in the greater Chicago area; they must focus. Bovada has given Illinois a 2.71% to win the 2015 Big 10 Tournament title.