Predictions and Odds between Houston vs. Illinois for the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament (Back to Illini to join and cover)

4th seed Illinois Fighting Illini didn’t lead 12th seed Chattanooga until the final 30 seconds of the match, but that was all they needed to survive and move forward.

The challenge will be much tougher on Sunday in the NCAA men’s opening game of the day when they face the five-seeded Houston Cougars. Houston won Sunday’s opening game with an 82-68 win over UAB.

Both teams have spent the whole year ranking top in college basketball, but who goes on from Round 32?

This is Latest odds at WynnBET Sportsbook.


Cash flow:


There’s a sense of a “prisoner of the moment” mentality right now when judging both of these teams, and I think that creates a value opportunity for Illinois.

Did Illini play their best basketball of late? No, but they’re not as terrible as they’re described. The loss to Indiana in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament was unexpected, but not shocking. Same thing with a one-point win over the Mocs, who hit a buzzer smasher from nearly halfway down the field to win the Southern Conference Tournament.

These two teams are very similar. While Houston offers some slight advantages in both KenPom adjusted offensively and defensively, Illinois made it through one round of the conference schedule and also a dominant free-shooter team, something that could be a big deal for the Cougars if the game still ends. Houston ranks in the top 30 for college basketball; shot from charity stripe at 66.6%.

Illinois still has a bad taste compared to last year, when it lost as a seed to Loyola Chicago in this very round last year. I expect them to come out with much more intensity and find a way back to the Sweet Round of 16 after failing a season ago.

BASED ON: Illinois +4.5 (-110)

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John Verrall

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