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2/20 Big Ten Preview: Minnesota at Illinois

Preview all of Monday’s Big Ten action.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Minnesota Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten only has one game on Monday night, but it’s a game with postseason implications for one side as Minnesota goes on the road to face Illinois. We’ll have to see if the Gophers can surprise and keep things competitive.

Let’s take a look at the schedule.

Game of the Day:

-Minnesota Golden Gophers at Illinois Fighting Illini

  • Time/TV: 9:00 PM ET (BTN)
  • KenPom Spread: Illinois by 18

Monday’s meeting between Illinois and Minnesota will be the second meeting between the two, as they met in mid-January in Minneapolis. Illinois cruised to an easy win in that one, thanks to 19 points and 10 rebounds from Matthew Mayer. The Illini will hope to earn the season sweep over the Gophers in this one.

Generally speaking, there aren’t a ton of reasons to think this game will be competitive. While Illinois has lost three of its last four, all three losses came away from home and against teams significantly better than Minnesota. The Gophers have also been a complete mess since that first meeting between the two teams and have lost nine straight, including a handful of the games at home and plenty by double-digits.

Simply put, this isn’t a recipe that suggests a close game.

With that said, Minnesota has shown fight in plenty of games this season that most didn’t expect, so perhaps the Gophers can on Monday. The key will be getting a big performance from the frontcourt of Joshua Ola-Joseph and Pharrel Payne. Neither has been incredible this season, but have shown flashes here and there. And while Dain Dainja and Coleman Hawkins are clearly a better duo, they have their own flaws as well. Perhaps Minnesota can surprise there and keep things competitive.

All told, this feels like a comfortable win for Illinois. Fans should keep an eye on the presence of Terrence Shannon, as the guard missed last weekend’s matchup with Indiana.

  • Pick: Illinois


Picks Record: 86-33-0