Illinois Fighting Illini (20-8) at #7 Michigan Wolverines (22-4)
Crisler Center – Ann Arbor, MI
Game Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Radio: WWJ-AM (950) in Detroit (click here for affiliates)
Favorite: Michigan by 1.5
It has been a week since the Michigan basketball took the court for a game. It might seem like longer but it was just a week ago when the team struggled through an unexpectedly tough home game against a poor Penn State team. That sent the Wolverines into their week “off” as losers of three of their last five with one of those wins a game that they shouldn’t feel very good about.
Times like these lead to questions about what Michigan will look like when they step back on the floor. Will they be rusty and continue the malaise that had plagued them over the last couple weeks or will they be rejuvenated with a new-found focus for the stretch run?
According to what the players have been saying in the media, we should expect that latter. Michigan has put an emphasis on defense and physicality, two areas that have been lacking of late. But Michigan can’t rely simply on renewed focus and expect to win, even over an opponent they have already beaten on the road. Illinois has won five straight, a streak that started with a win over the Indiana Hoosiers. They now sit at 7-7 in Big Ten play and 20-8 overall and have the chance to seal an NCAA tournament bid over the next couple weeks.
Prediction: Michigan 76, Illinois 66