Illinois vs. Texas NCAAB Top Picks for Tuesday: Defensive Battle at Jimmy V Classic

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Christian Bishop #32 of the Texas Longhorns salutes the crowd after scoring a slam dunk against Gonzaga Bulldog. Chris Covatta/Getty Images/AFP.

Tuesday’s college basketball betting card includes a Big Ten-Big 12 collision between the Illinois Fighting Illini and Texas Longhorns in New York at the Jimmy V Classic.

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Texas Longhorns

Tuesday, December 6, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at Madison Square Garden

Let’s see, the Big Ten has 14 teams and the Big 12 has 10 teams, and if you add all of that up it works out to one helluva’ defensive matchup Tuesday night when the Illinois Fighting Illini and Texas Longhorns tip things off to honor the late Jim Valvano.

Texas remained No. 2 in the latest AP and Coaches polls, the Longhorns trailing only fellow Lone Star State cousin Houston in the rankings as well as the Ken Pomeroy ratings, while Illinois is sitting 17th in the two conventional polls and 18th on the KenPom list.

Overnight Trading Cuts Spread Down

The first numbers to appear on the NCAAB odds had Texas giving up 4½. Bettors responded by grabbing up Illinois and the points to push the spread down to 2½ at most shops, and scoreboard bettors are looking at 139½-140 for the total.

Illini Coming off Loss in B1G Opener

Brad Underwood’s charges smoked Syracuse 73-44 last week in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, easily covering the 12-point spread at Illinois betting sites and holding the Orange to their lowest output since dropping the 2019-20 season opener to Virginia.

Coleman Hawkins led four Fighting Illini players in double figures with 15 points and added 10 boards plus 10 assists to become the first Illinois player to post a triple-double since Ayo Dosunmu did it twice in a 14-day span back in February 2021. Everything appeared rosy for the Fighting Illini.

As lopsided as the score was against Syracuse, that win masked some shooting problems for the Fighting Illini and those struggles followed them into their Big Ten opener last Friday evening at Maryland where the Terrapins posted a 71-66 decision as small home chalk.

The Fighting Illini shot less than 30% from the 3-point range in the win over the Orange, all while going a puny 9-of-17 from the free throw line, and then canned just 5-of-20 from beyond the arc at Maryland. The 71 points allowed was also a season-high for Illinois.

Perimeter Defense Pushes ‘Horns Past ‘Jays

Chris Beard’s bunch had just one game last week, but the Longhorns made the most of it by taking their top 10 team of the season in a 72-67 win over Creighton, the final coming up a bit short of the 6½-point spread on Texas betting sites.

Even though their big 7′1″ center Ryan Kalkbrenner was having a solid game down low with 20 points and 13 boards, the Bluejays kept throwing up 3-pointers with Texas defenders in their faces. Creighton sank just 4-of-27, three of those treys coming late in the second half.

Marcus Carr led the way for the Longhorns with 19 points while Tyrese Hunter added 15, including a huge layup in the final minute that all but iced things. Texas committed just three turnovers after entering the game averaging nearly a dozen.

  • Illinois has covered 5 of its 8 games while Texas has split cover in its half-dozen tilts.
  • Illinois is 4-4 O/U and Texas is 1-5 O/U.
  • Texas is 6th in the country allowing 55.2 points per game. Illinois is tied for 27th (60.5).
  • Illinois’ last Big 12 opponent was Kansas State in the Hall of Fame Classic a year ago, a 72-64 win for the Fighting Illini.
  • Purdue was the last Big Ten opponent for Texas, that matchup taking place in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last March, an 81-71 Boilermakers win.

Last Meeting Also at MSG

The Fighting Illini and Longhorns don’t get together too often, with Tuesday’s tussle just the sixth between the schools and the first in more than a dozen years, but it has been a close rivalry with Texas leading 3-2 and the last collision also took place at Madison Square Garden.

That clash in November 2010 came during the semifinals of the 2K Sports Classic and was itself a classic as the Longhorns posted a 90-84 victory in overtime as small underdogs at top-rated sportsbooks, the final going past the total in regulation.

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

Despite not meeting for a dozen years, these rosters are not strangers to each other with the Fighting Illini having a trio of former Big 12 players in Terrence Shannon Jr., Dain Dainja, and Matthew Mayer, all of whom faced the Longhorns last season.

Things could get physical and baskets should be tough to come by; put me down for a college basketball pick on the total coming up short.

NCAAB Pick: Under 139½ (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Under 139½ (-108)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.