Illinois (18-6, 11-3) travels to New Jersey to take on a hot Rutgers (15-9, 9-5) team that has beaten Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin in its last three games. It would have been five straight wins as well if not for an inexplicable overtime loss to Northwestern. If Rutgers wants to solidify its spot in the NCAA Tournament it will need some big wins in the next few weeks against not only Illinois, but also Purdue and Wisconsin again.
How to watch Illinois vs. Rutgers Basketball
Game Matchup: #12 Illinois Fighting Illini (18-6, 11-3 Big Ten, 1st in Big Ten) vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (15-9, 9-5 Big Ten, t-5th in Big Ten)
Venue & Location: Jersey Mike’s Arena (Piscataway, New Jersey)
Date: Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: BTN (Big Ten Network) (Watch 7 days free with fuboTV)
The Illini will face Michigan State and Ohio State in their next two games after this so they can’t get caught looking ahead. For Illinois, this definitely falls into the category of “trap game” and they should not overlook how well the Scarlet Knights have been playing recently.
Odds and prediction
- Spread: Illinois -3.5 (-110), Rutgers +3.5 (-110)
- Total: OVER 135.5 (-110), UNDER 135.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: Illinois -165, Rutgers +140
Odds are via BetMGM.
Illinois vs. Rutgers Basketball Game Betting Preview
Illinois has one major weapon on its side and he has been the reason for a lot of Illini wins throughout the season. It is of course, none other than Kofi Cockburn. The 7-footer out of Jamaica has been in the running for National Player of the Year and that should surprise no one. He is averaging a double-double with 21.6 points and 11.2 rebounds a game and Illinois has needed all of them this season. He is going to be the major mismatch in this game, assuming he doesn’t get into foul trouble.
Rutgers has its own weapons in Geo Baker and Roy Harper Jr. though. They have been phenomenal this season as a pairing and have been getting some help from big man Cliff Omoruyi. It will be a matter of how well Rutgers guards Trent Frazier and if the Knights can create some of their own offense. When Baker and Harper get going, they are fun to watch and create incredible momentum for their team.
Both teams are pretty similar on defense as neither allow more than 66 points per game. The likely difference in this game is going to come down to three-point shooting. Rutgers has not limited teams from beyond the arc very well, allowing them to shoot over 34 percent. However, Illinois keeps its opponents to about 31 percent shooting from beyond the arc. While it may not seem like much, that is definitely a big enough difference to change the outcome of this game.