Wisconsin-Illinois: Ranked Duo Duel for Edge in Big Ten Race

Eddie Griffin

With five teams in the top 20 of the national rankings, multiple Final Four contenders, a number of the best players in college basketball, and a tight title race, the Big Ten is thriving this season. Tonight, two of the conference’s contenders–and two of the nation’s top talents–take center stage as Wisconsin visits Illinois.

Wisconsin vs. Illinois College Basketball Matchup Info and Betting Odds

Matchup Information

  • Game Matchup: #11 Wisconsin Badgers (17-3, 8-2 Big Ten, t-1st in Big Ten) vs. #18 Illinois Fighting Illini (15-5, 8-2 Big Ten, t-1st in Big Ten)
  • Venue & Location: State Farm Center (Champaign, Illinois)
  • Date: Wednesday, February 2, 2022
  • Time: 9:00 p.m. ET
  • TV: BTN (Big Ten Network)

Wisconsin Team Statistics

For/Against

  • Points Per Game: 72.4/66.5
  • Field-Goal %: 42.2/43.6
  • Three-Point FG %: 32.7/33.8
  • Free-Throw %: 75.7/66.3
  • Rebounds Per Game: 35.7/35.4
  • Assists Per Game: 11.5/11.2
  • Turnovers Per Game: 8.5/12.0

Illinois Team Statistics

  • Points Per Game: 77.2/65.8
  • Field-Goal %: 45.8/39.9
  • Three-Point FG %: 36.9/32.3
  • Free-Throw %: 72.3/72.4
  • Rebounds Per Game: 41.1/31.4
  • Assists Per Game: 15.7/9.4
  • Turnovers Per Game: 13.3/10.9

Wisconsin vs. Illinois Betting Statistics

Wisconsin

  • ATS: 12-8-0 (6-4-0 in Big Ten)
  • Over/Under: 13-7-0 (6-4-0 in Big Ten)

Illinois

  • ATS: 9-11-0 (5-5-0 in Big Ten)
  • Over/Under: 12-8-0 (5-5-0 in Big Ten)

Betting Odds

  • Spread: Wisconsin +6.5 (-110), Illinois -6.5 (-110)
  • Total: OVER 139.5 (-110), UNDER 139.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Wisconsin +240, Illinois -300

Odds are via BetMGM

Wisconsin, Illinois Battle for Top Spot in Tight, Talent-Laden Big Ten

Johnny Davis Wisconsin
Johnny Davis and Wisconsin are set to visit Illinois in a pivotal Big Ten showdown.

With the top eight teams in the Big Ten separated by only two and a half games, there are a lot of pivotal games ahead. This stands to be one of the most important.

Three teams are tied for first place in the conference, and none of those three teams is Purdue, the Big Ten’s highest-ranked team and best hope for March Madness glory.

Big Ten Basketball Standings

  • Illinois 8-2
  • Michigan State 8-2
  • Wisconsin 8-2
  • Purdue 7-3
  • Ohio State 6-3
  • Indiana 7-4
  • Michigan 5-4
  • Rutgers 6-5
  • Iowa 4-6
  • Penn State 4-6
  • Maryland 3-8
  • Northwestern 3-8
  • Minnesota 2-7
  • Nebraska 0-11

While the Boilermakers are currently a game behind in the conference standings, oddsmakers still fancy their chances of claiming the conference title.

Odds to Win the Big Ten Regular Season Title

  • Purdue +170
  • Illinois +240
  • Michigan State +400
  • Wisconsin +460
  • Ohio State +1600
  • Indiana +4200
  • Michigan +12000

Odds are via FanDuel Sportsbook.

Which team would receive the biggest conference title boost with a win tonight? That would be Illinois.

A loss tonight would not be ideal for Wisconsin, but it wouldn’t be severely damaging. Their remaining schedule features trips to Michigan State (February 8) and Indiana (February 15) and a home game against Purdue (March 1), but their schedule is fairly favorable overall.

When they already own a road win over Purdue and there is a good chance the regular season champion could have five or more losses, the Badgers can afford a loss tonight.

Yes, Wisconsin did lose at home to Michigan State, who does have a fairly favorable finish, so losing that tiebreaker would put them in a tough spot. But the Spartans are living dangerously, with four of their past six games decided by one or two points.

Illinois, meanwhile, visits Indiana and Purdue in their next two games after tonight’s contest. Also, they have a trip to Michigan State and Michigan later this month. The Wolverines have underachieved this season, but they have won four of five and will be a tough out at Crisler Center. So, it is far more important for the Illini to take the win tonight.

Wisconsin vs. Illinois Betting Tips

This is a pretty sizable spread given that these are two ranked teams with the same conference record. And Wisconsin has a win at Purdue, so Johnny Davis (+500 to win the Wooden Award) and the Badgers aren’t pushovers on the road.

The best move would be to focus on the total and avoid the spread.

Scoring has dipped for Illinois recently. Kofi Cockburn is certainly pulling his weight and had 22 points and nine boards in Saturday’s win over Northwestern after missing a loss at Maryland and a win over Michigan State (concussion). But in their past five games, the only time the Illini hit 70 points was their double-overtime loss to Purdue, and they had 69 points in regulation in that game.

But Cockburn and the Illini are too deep and talented to continue to struggle to score. Alfonso Plummer, Trent Frazier, and Jacob Grandison were a combined 5 for 22 with 17 points against Northwestern. Don’t look for that to happen again. And guard Andre Curbelo (COVID protocols) will be back in action tonight after missing the past two games, which will provide a big spark offensively.

Wisconsin is always a tough matchup at both ends of the court, but prior to Sunday’s 66-60 win over Minnesota, Wisconsin had seven straight games with a total of 138 or better.

The numbers trend favorably towards the over tonight if the number stays around 135 to 137.

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