Illinois vs Arkansas Prediction - Basketball Picks 3/16/23

Arkansas Razorbacks (20-13) vs Illinois Fighting Illini (20-12)

Game Info: Thursday, March 16, 2023 at 4:30 pm (Wells Fargo Arena)

Betting Odds: Arkansas Razorbacks -2 -- Over/Under: 144 Click Here for the Latest Odds

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The Arkansas Razorbacks and the Illinois Fighting Illini will meet in the first round of the Midwest Region in Des Moines at the Wells Fargo Arena on TBS. Illinois has won all five meetings, with the last win coming in December of 2004 in Little Rock.

Illinois Betting Preview

Illinois fell to 20-12 after losing to Penn State in the Big Ten Quarterfinal. The Fighting Illini let the Nittany Lions slip away late and lost by three points, 79-76.Illinois is scoring 74.7 points per game, while allowing 67.0 ppg, and shooting 45.1% from the floor.

Illinois also snuck into the field of 64 after tailing off a bit late in the season, and they’ll look to bounce back to two straight losses here.  Former Texas Tech guard Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 21 points in their last win in the home finale against Michigan, and he leads the team in scoring (17.1), while grabbing 4.7 rpg. Baylor transfer Matthew Mayer matched his energy with a team-high 24 points versus Big Blue, and he’s now up to 12.8 ppg. Veteran forward Coleman Hawkins scored 17 points in the loss to PSU, and he leads the team in rebounding (6.3), while scoring 9.9 ppg.

Arkansas Betting Preview

Arkansas dropped to 20-13 after losing to Texas A&M in the SEC Quarterfinal. The Razorbacks blew another big halftime lead and let the Aggies hand them a six-point loss, 67-61. Arkansas scores 74.4 points per game, while allowing 67.4 ppg, and shooting 47.5% from the field.

Arkansas cashed in on their pedigree and snuck into the Big Dance despite dropping their final three regular season games, and an early exit to the SEC Tournament. Ricky Council IV was quiet at the SEC Tournament, but he scored 15 points in four of the final five conference games, and leads the Hogs in scoring (15.9). Freshman guard Nick Smith Jr. caught fire down the stretch, scoring 24 points in three of the last four games, and he’s now second on the team at 14.0 ppg. Veteran guard Davonte Davis grabbed ten boards in the second round win over Arkansas, and he’s up to 10.5 ppg and 4.2 rpg. 

Illinois vs Arkansas Trends

Arkansas is 16-16-1 against the spread this season, with a 14-18-1 over/under record. Illinois is 17-14 ATS this year, with a 16-16 o/u record. The Under is 8-2 in the Hogs last 10 NCAA Tournament games.

Corey's Free Pick

Arkansas and Illinois both endured the hits of playing in two of the top conferences in the country this season, and they’ll face off in one of the more even numbers on the Thursday slate. In a meaningful spot, I like leaning on Eric Musselman’s experience at the Dance coming through in a big way. After leading the Hogs to back-to-back Elite Eight’s, the cerebral head coach will have this team ready to play winning basketball. Roll with the Razorbacks in this first round matchup.

Corey’s Pick Arkansas -2

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The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a PickDawgz site consensus.

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