Illini to keep fighting in Indy?

Illini to keep fighting in Indy?

Forget the big announcement on the football side – Illinois has pressing hoops business to handle against Minnesota today.

Online sports book BetDSI likes the Fighting Illini as 8-point favorites entering the Big Ten tournament opener at 4:30 p.m. ET. Meanwhile, offensive limitations on both sides make the total of 136.5 points a thoroughly daring proposition.

The 8-22 Gophers know all about precarious circumstances. Take the latest such incident, a graphic tweet involving floor general Kevin Dorsey. Head coach Richard Pitino eventually suspended the freshman, along with leading scorer Nate Mason and Dupree McBrayer, for the final three games of the regular season as well as the goings-on at Bankers Life FieldHouse this week.

Minnesota’s on-floor conduct has been equally embarrassing. Even the lone remaining bright spot, power forward Joey King, suffered a broken foot in last Friday’s 62-49 defeat to Wisconsin.

Decimated roster hits Minny at worst time

King’s absence suggests an Illini cakewalk, particularly if shooting guard Malcolm Hill can muster just half of the Herculean effort he put forth vs. Penn State several nights ago. John Groce’s squad ultimately fell short in overtime, 86-79, but Hill amassed 39 points and 13 rebounds.

With King – and a multitude of others – down for the count, the Gophers offer no interior resistance, either. Bottom line: Champaign lovers must allow for a celebratory roundball detour amid the constant Lovie Smith … love.

WEDNESDAY NCAA FREE PICK: ILLINOIS -8

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