FIGHTING ILLINI: Illinois has been hit and miss for the past few months, not the form you want to have entering the NCAA Tournament. The Illini have been one of the biggest underachieving teams this season. Illinois is 19-13 SU and 16-15-1 ATS overall this season. The Illini are just 1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS when playing in neutral court settings this year. In fact, Illinois is just 5-11 SU away from home this season. Coach Weber has done everything he can, both privately and publicly to get through to his team. G Demetri McCamey does it all for the Fighting Illini, as he averages team highs of 14.8 PPG and 6.1 APG this season. F Mike Davis is averaging 12 PPG and a team high 7.1 RPG this year for the Illini. The Fighting Illini are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games as the listed underdog. Illinois is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a winning percentage above .600%. The Fighting Illini are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games.
Fighting Illini are 0-5 ATS last 5 neutral site games. Under is 13-4 last 17 NCAA Tournament games.
RUNNIN REBELS: (-2, O/U 132.5) UNLV is team that comes in the NCAA Tournament under the radar. Part of that reason is based on the perception of the conference the Runnin Rebels play in. The problem with that flawed thinking is the simple fact that the Mountain West Conference had the 4th strongest RPI in the nation this season. UNLV is 24-8 SU and 13-18 ATS overall this season. 5 of the Runnin Rebels 8 losses have come against Top 10 powers San Diego St. and BYU. UNLV is 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS in true neutral court settings this season. The Runnin Rebels are 6-5 ATS as a single digit favorite this year. Despite being a "mid-major" UNLV is incredibly long and athletic. Facing a team from the Big Ten isn't going to intimidate the Runnin Rebels in the least. G Tre'Von Willis leads UNLV in scoring this year, as he averages 13.5 PPG. F Chace Stanback is averaging 13 PPG and a team high 6 RPG this season for UNLV. If the Runnin Rebels are able to shoot like they have been for the past 6 weeks, beating Illinois is highly probable.
Runnin Rebels are 2-5 ATS last 7 non-conference games. Under is 6-1 last 7 games following a SU loss.
Projected Score: UNLV 69, Illinois 60
Related reading: Game analysis from Las Vegas Review journal