College Basketball Odds: Indiana at Illinois Spread, Preview & Public Picks Print
Written by Anthony Rome   
Thursday, 07 February 2008 11:00
NCAAB Headline News

Big 10 Matchup in Illinois

Before Eric Gordon decided to stay close to home and play for Indiana, he was headed to Illinois.

Gordon will make his first appearance on the Champaign campus since reneging on an oral commitment to play for the Illini, as they host the 14th-ranked Hoosiers on Thursday night.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Indiana –1.5 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 92% of bets for this game have been placed on Indiana –1.5 (View College Basketball bet percentages).

In his first - and possibly only - college season, Gordon has lived up to the hype surrounding him when he verbally committed to Illinois as high school junior in Indianapolis.

However, when Kelvin Sampson replaced Mike Davis as coach at Indiana, Sampson continued to recruit the 6-foot-4 guard. Gordon eventually changed his mind and decided to attend the Indiana. Now he's leading the Big Ten in scoring at 21.8 points per contest and helping the Hoosiers (18-3, 7-1) contend for a Big Ten title.

Illinois (10-13, 2-8), meanwhile, is near the bottom of the conference and likely to see its run of eight straight NCAA tournament appearances come to an end in 2007-08.

Knowing how much the offensively challenged Illini could use a player like Gordon, their fan base isn't expected to graciously welcome him in his second meeting with the team he shunned.

Gordon scored 11 of his 17 points in the second half of Indiana's 62-58 home win over Illinois on Jan. 13.

Gordon and his teammates will likely take the same approach they did prior to that contest into Thursday's game as the Hoosiers try to snap a six-game losing streak in Champaign.

"We tried to look at it like it was just another Big Ten game and to just win," said Gordon, who had 29 points on 8-for-14 shooting as Indiana avoided a third consecutive loss with a 75-63 home win over Northwestern on Sunday.

Illinois players may also try to downplay Gordon's visit, much like they claimed to do last month when the teams meet.

"We didn't say anything about it," said Illinois' Brian Randle, who had nine points and 10 rebounds against Indiana.

"He was another player on the scouting report. Obviously, he's one of the best freshmen in the country. But in terms of what everybody wants to hear, about we're angry or it's payback, it's just a game. It's Indiana versus Illinois."

While a win for Illinois would offer a bright spot on an otherwise disappointing season, Indiana needs one to keep pace with No. 24 Purdue and No. 8 Wisconsin in the race for the Big Ten title.

The Hoosiers were less than stellar against Northwestern, leading by just three at the break against the only team without a conference victory.

Indiana, however, clamped down defensively in the second half, holding the Wildcats to 34.6 percent shooting after they shot 63.6 percent in the first 20 minutes.

"In the second half, we played with a lot of energy and effort on defense," said Gordon, who went 6-for-10 from 3-point range in the game. "It's obvious what we have to do."

D.J. White had 26 points and 13 rebounds for his third straight double-double, and is averaging 20.3 points and 13.3 rebounds in that span. He had 15 points and 10 boards versus Illinois last month.

The Illini will try to avoid a third straight loss after falling 83-75 to Purdue at home on Saturday.

Randle had a season-high 21 points, while leading scorer Shaun Pruitt added 18 and nine rebounds for the Illini, who shot 50.0 percent but committed 18 turnovers.

Pruitt, who averages 12.6 points, bounced back after being held to 14 total in his previous two contests for Illinois, which is among the league's lowest-scoring teams at 65.1 points per game.

Illinois is 0-5 versus ranked teams this season and hasn't defeated a top 25 school since a 51-43 home win over then-No. 23 Indiana on Jan. 23, 2007.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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