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Houston vs. Illinois: Odds, Spread, Pick & Predictions for 2022 NCAA Tournament

by March 19, 2022
Arizona vs. Houston: Best NCAA Tournament Sports Betting Offers

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No. 5 Houston (-4.5) vs. No. 4 Illinois

Tip Sunday, 12:10 p.m. ET on CBS

Houston is one of the more well-balanced teams coming into this tournament, and they showed it off with an easy 82-68 win over UAB. KenPom has as the third-ranked team and is top 12 in adjusted offense and defense. They love to apply the pressure on defense, and they’ll hound you and force low percentage shots no matter where you are on the floor. They proved it all season as they allowed just 29% from three-point range (11th) and 43% on two-point shots (8th). Even without scoring leader Marcus Sasser, the Houston offense has not missed a beat, and they’ve scored under 70 points just twice in the last 15 games. They’re confident in taking perimeter shots with center Josh Carlton under the glass to clean up as his 113 offensive rebounds are the seventh-most in the country. A team that can dominate on both sides of the floor will be tough to beat throughout this tournament.

Illinois is very lucky to make it to the second round after an awful offensive night in the one-point win against Chattanooga. The 54 points were well-below the 70 they average and shot just 17.6% from three and 50% at the free-throw line. They absolutely cannot repeat this type of performance if they want to make it out of the first weekend. Center Kofi Cockburn is one of the better big men that’s still in his tournament, and he needed to get all of that 17 points and 13 rebounds to keep the Fighting Illini going. His 7.2 defensive rebounds per game (19th) will be a great equalizer to Carlton on boards, and this matchup could be the x-factor.

Pick: Houston (-4.5)

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