UCF vs. Illinois State Pick
Will top-seeded Illinois State stay perfect at home and pick up a win over No. 4 Central Florida when the two meet in the second round of the NIT Tournament tonight at 7PM ET?
According to oddsmakers at BetDSI, Illinois State is the favorite today, as the Redbirds are getting odds of -4.5 points against UCF. The over/under total for the game is listed at 128 points. They will play tonight from Redbird Arena in Normal, Illinois,
Illinois State picked up an 85-71 win over UC Irvine in the first round of the NIT Tournament to move to 28-6 on the season and 16-0 at home. The Redbirds are also 18-15 against the spread on the season and surprisingly just 7-8 ATS at home. They are averaging 68.9 points per game on offense while allowing 61.1 points per game on defense. Deontae Hawkins is leading the team this season with 14 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while Paris Lee adds 13.1 points and 5.1 assists per contest.
Central Florida picked up a 79-74 win over Colorado in the first round of this tournament last week to improve to 22-11 on the season. The Knights are now 6-6 on the road while going 15-13 against the spread. They have an 8-8 record ATS away from home this season. UCF is averaging 67.6 points per game on offense while giving up just 61 per game on defense. Away from home, the Knights average just 63.1 on offense and allow 67.6 on defense. B.J. Taylor is leading the team with 17.5 points and 3.6 assists per game while Matt Williams is adding 15 points per game.
Both teams pride themselves on defense, so this should be a grinder of a game. However, the UCF defense doesn’t travel quite as well. Illinois State will have the comforts of its home floor and that should be enough to keep this struggling UCF offense from putting up much of a number. From there, the Redbirds should get a few extra bounces on offense and do enough to cover.
NIT TOURNAMENT PREDICTION: ILLINOIS STATE -4.5