A pair of teams with only one loss between them get together on tonight, as the Illinois Fighting Illini take on the 15th-ranked Oregon Ducks in Portland, Oregon. The game has a start time of 10:00 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on ESPN 2. Current odds have Oregon listed as 7 point favorites, while the total sits at 144.
Analysis: Illinois brings a 9-1 record into the contest, the Illini having won two straight since suffering their lone loss at Georgia Tech on Dec. 3, 67-64. Illinois is led offensively by Rayvonte Rice at 17.9 ppg, while Tracy Abrams (11.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.2 apg) and Joseph Bertrand (11.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg) are developing into well-rounded players. Illinois is averaging 72.3 ppg behind typical shooting outputs of 45% overall, 32.6% from 3-point range and 65.8% from the foul line. Still it has been a stifling defense that has fueled their hot start effort, as they come in allowing just 59.3 ppg on a mere 37.8% shooting. The Illini have held their first 10 opponents to under 70 points for the first time since 2005-06.
Few teams in college basketball have a more efficient or more balanced offensive attack than No. 15 Oregon. Oregon (8-0) ranks among the highest-scoring teams in the country with 91.4 points per game and it defeated Ole Miss 115-105 in overtime Sunday, with six Ducks scoring in double figures. With an offense that produces as well as Oregon's, it's no surprise to see six guys averaging double figures in the scoring column, led by Joseph Young and his 20.1 ppg. Point guard Johnathan Loyd's 7.4 assists per game place him in the top five in the county. The Ducks will be without point guard Dominic Artis and forward Ben Carter for one more game as they finish out their nine-game suspensions for selling team-issued shoes. After this game the Ducks won't play another official road game until opening their Pac-12 Conference schedule at Utah on Jan. 2, 2014.
Pick: Going with the Ducks here. This is pretty much a home game for them and a bad spot for the Illini, who have to travel cross country. The Illini defense has been tough, but the Ducks will find away to put enough points on the board to get the win and cover here.
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