Ohio State basketball vs. Illinois preview: Odds, preview, prediction, lineups, TV


Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann.AP


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State basketball will face Illinois for the first time this year as it continues to turn its season around.

While the Buckeyes are coming off a win over Iowa that snapped a five-game losing streak, the Illini watched their four-game winning streak end at the hands of Indiana last week.

What: Ohio State (10-6, 2-3 Big Ten) vs. Illinois (13-6, 4-4).

Where: State Farm Center, Champaign, Illinois.

When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.


Point spread: Illinois, minus-3.5

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Projected Starters

Ohio State: Bruce Thornton (8.7 ppg), Sean McNeal (9.9 ppg), Isaac Likekele (4 ppg) Brice Sensabaugh (17.5 ppg), and Zed Key (12.1 ppg).

Illinois: Terrence Shannoon Jr. (18.1 ppg), Sencire Harris (4.2 ppg), Matthew Mayer (10.5 ppg), Dain Dainja (10.3 ppg) and Coleman Hawkins (9.6 ppg).

What to Watch For

Chris Holtmann moved Isaac Likekele back into the starting lineup, replacing Justice Sueing. OSU’s second-leading scorer had been struggling the two prior games scoring just 11 total points on 4-of-17 shooting in losses to Rutgers and Nebraska. The sixth-man role worked out against the Hawkeyes as he scored 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting, and it will be interesting to see if this will be long term.

Likekele isn’t a scorer by nature, but instead a guy who’s more of a jack of all trades, master of none. Whatever is needed on a particular night is typically what he brings, and against Iowa, it just so happened to be all of the above with 18 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

The starting unit needs a guy like that, especially now that it’s clear that Brice Senabaugh is Ohio State’s best scorer. Meanwhile, the second unit could use a go-to guy, a role Sueing can continue to better maximize this team on offense.


Stephen’s pick: Ohio State did a good job finally getting back in the win column, and there will probably be some momentum that comes out of that. The only problem is I’m not completely sure it’s better than its next opponent, making it hard to think of Saturday’s win as a turning point quite yet. 74-70 Illinois.

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