NCAAB Illinois Vs. Texas Odds, Picks, Predictions (12/6/22)

The Texas Longhorns and Fighting Illini kick off the Jimmy V Classic in what will be a high profiled matchup. Texas continues to dominate, knocking off their second elite squad this season after thwarting the Creighton Bluejays. As for Illinois, they limp into this one after a tough loss to the surprisingly undefeated Maryland Terps. Can Illinois bounce back?

Illinois Vs. Texas Odds

Oddsmakers don’t think so as they opened Illinois as a +4 underdog. Bettors come into this one with more tempered expectations, taking Illinois down to as low as +2.5 in some shops. With Kenpom having this projected at +6, the movement comes curious to me as both units have clear advantages over the other.

As for the total, oddsmakers and bettors are both aligned as this number has been firm on the opening number of 140.5. For two teams who specialize in defense, this total is shockingly high. Especially when you dig deeper and realize that each other’s defensive strengths negate each other’s offensive identities.

Illinois Vs. Texas Prediction & Pick

The Pick: Under 140.5

While I was hoping to see this line take some movement and catch a trailing number, I will settle with under 140.5 and continue to add small pieces should it go against me. I will also look to add Texas on the number should that number continue to dip towards a buy low point as well.

This cap is geared towards each other’s defensive strengths as stalled out drives into poor shot selections will go a long way towards our under ticket cashing at the window. 

Texas has been one of the best teams in the nation, relying on a vaunted defense to limit opponents scoring while shooting at an efficient rate themselves. This is a team that scores over 60% of their points inside the arc, finishing at an elite rate at the rim for high quality scoring opportunities.

On the flip side, Illinois defends the paint at an elite level. In terms of average field goal percentage allowed at the rim in comparison to the division one average, Illinois allows a -10% completion rate compared to the league average. This negates exactly what the Texas offense wants to do and that is score at an efficient clip at the rim.

Illinois Vs. Texas Key Matchups

Can Illinois three-point barrage exploit the Longhorns perimeter defense? How will Texas generate offense against the Illini defense?

Illinois three-point scoring vs Texas perimeter defense

Illinois offense and defensive identities could not be more polar opposites. While Illinois defense focuses on limiting high quality looks at the rim, their offense is perimeter heavy while shooting at a 35% clip.

With their lack of size downlow in comparison to years past, their three-point shooting has been a way to stretch out opposing defenses before shifting towards attacking the rim. The issue? Texas is elite at limiting perimeter looks.

The Longhorns perimeter defense have held opposing offenses to just 23.2% from deep. This was apparent by cruising past two high powered offenses in Gonzaga and Creighton, both more complete offenses.

Texas interior offense vs Illinois defense

As previously stated, Illinois defensive specialties are tailor made to limit the Texas offensive production. Texas will look to attack the paint frequently and often while Illinois limits down low scoring opportunities at an elite level. So how will they generate offense?

Texas doesn’t necessarily pose as a threat from deep, only completing their shots from deep at a 28.9% clip. Should they stretch out the defense with efficient shooting, that would open up the paint for more high-quality chances at the rim.

Facilitating will be more important than ever, a metric Texas excels at with an above average turnover rate. Taking care of the ball, making cuts at the rim, and opening shooters at the perimeter will be the key to opening the defense. Slow, methodical, playmaking.

Verdict

With both units having key advantages at slowing each other’s offenses for limited scoring opportunities, I will take the under in what may be a low scoring affair. It’s tough to rely on three-point production from an inefficient shooting team to generate offense, while Illinois will need to rely on the three themselves against the Longhorns athletic front.

Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

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