With just a couple of weeks left in the Big Ten regular season, both teams are looking to finish strong. The Fighting Illini are just half a game out of first place in the conference standings and will hope they can outlast the Michigan Wolverines for the regular-season title.
Meanwhile, the Spartans are 10th in the Big Ten and will be fighting to keep their NCAA tournament dreams alive.
Fixture: Illinois Fighting Illini vs Michigan State Spartans – NCAA Men’s Basketball
Date and Time: Tuesday, February 23, 7:00 PM ET
Venue: Jack Breslin Student Events Center, East Lansing, Michigan
Illinois Fighting Illini Preview
The Illinois Fighting Illini seem to already be in tournament form after their dominating 94-63 victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
The Fighting Illini have great chemistry on and off the court at the moment. They assisted 27 of their 37 made field goals and had 11 of their 14 available players score a basket.
The Illinois Fighting Illini are in contention for a number one seed. They have won five road games in a row and have their best Big Ten record since 2005 at 12-3.
Key Player – Ayo Dosunmu
Ayo Dosunmu recorded his second triple-double in four games on Saturday with a stat line of 19 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds. He is the first player in Illinois Fighting Illini’s program history to notch multiple triple-doubles.
The National Player of the Year candidate will likely continue his dominance against the Michigan State Spartans on Tuesday night. Over the last four games, he is averaging 21 points, 8.3 assists and 6.8 rebounds.
Illinois Fighting Illini Predicted Lineup
F Jacob Grandison, C Kofi Cockburn, G Trent Frazier, G Ayo Dosunmu, G Adam Miller
Michigan State Spartans Preview
The Michigan State Spartans kept their March Madness hopes alive for another week after earning a 78-71 comeback victory over the Indiana Hoosiers.
The win ended the Spartans’ two-game losing streak, moving them to 11-9 on the year. If they are to string together a run of victories in hopes of overcoming their conference struggles, they will need to maintain the perimeter defense they displayed on Saturday.
The Spartans held Indiana to 21% from behind the arc and held their three starting guards to 17 points.
Key Player – Aaron Henry
Aaron Henry tied his season-high in scoring against the Indiana Hoosiers with 27 points. The junior forward has now reached double-digit points in 18 of the Michigan Spartans’ 20 games this season.
Henry has a 56.2% true shooting rating, according to sports-refencece.com, and will need to continue his fine form against Kofi Cockburn and the rest of the Illinois Fighting Illini frontcourt on Tuesday night.
Michigan State Spartans‘ Predicted Lineup
F Aaron Henry, F Malik Hall, F Julius Marble II, G Joshua Langford, G A.J. Hoggard
Illinois vs Michigan State Match Prediction
The Michigan State Spartans are aware that a win over a top-five team will be great for their chances of sneaking into the post-season tournament. We expect them to come out full of energy from the opening tip.
However, the Illinois Fighting Illini are playing some of the best basketball in the country. We expect Ayo Dosunmu to have another great game and lead his team to a win.
According to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Illinois Fighting Illini have an 81.3% chance of beating the Michigan State Spartans on Tuesday.
Where to watch Illinois vs Michigan State
The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports One (FS1).
Published 22 Feb 2021, 05:52 IST