- Illinois is a three-point road favorite over Penn State on Wednesday night in a Big Ten game at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park.
- The Illinois duo of guard Ayo Dosunmu and center Kofi Cockburn is averaging 39.6 points a game
- Penn State has four players with double-figure scoring averages
After dropping in the latest Associated Press media poll, 18th-ranked Illinois will try to get on track when it visits Penn State in a Big Ten game at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa.
Illinois fell five spots from No. 13 in this week’s rankings after losing 91-88 at then-No. 19 Rutgers on Sunday. It was the second loss in three games for the Fighting Illini, who fell to 5-3 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten. They have split their eight games against the spread.
Penn State also lost its last game, 62-58 at Michigan on Dec. 13 as a seven-point underdog. The Nittany Lions, who has lost of their last three games, are 3-3 ATS.
Illinois is a small road favorite.
#18 Illinois vs Penn State Odds
|Illinois||-159||-3 (-112)||Over 151.5 (-109)|
|Penn State||+130||+3 (-109)||Under 151.5 (-112)|
Odds taken Dec. 22 from DraftKings
Illinois’ Dynamic Duo
The duo of junior guard Ayo Dosunmu and sophomore center Kofi Cockburn again shined for the Illinois in the last at Rutgers.
Dosunmu had 22 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Cockburn added 17 points and 12 rebounds.
#Rutgers Jacob Young anticipates the pass, #Illini Ayo Dosunmu cuts to the basket instead and Da’Monte Williams feeds Ayo for the score. pic.twitter.com/oQ0s6ILxnj
— Hoop Informatics (@HoopInformatics) December 20, 2020
Through eight games, Dosunmu has been outstanding, as he has is averaging 22.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists a game. He is also shooting 51.1% from the floor.
Cockburn is averaging nearly a double-double with 16.8 points and 9.8 rebounds. He is shooting 64.9%
Kofi Cockburn had a career high 33 points, and this poster for #13 Illinois as they defeated Minnesota 92-65. #Illini pic.twitter.com/y1J5R42lWw
— Sports Parade (@SportsParade) December 16, 2020
However, Rutgers was able to exploit the Illinois defense for 91 points and also drew 25 points that led to 36 free throws.
The Illini are still searching for a consistent third scoring option, so it was heartening to see senior guard Trent Frazier have a season-high 19 points against the Scarlet Knights. He raised his scoring average to 9.9 points.
Freshman guard Adam Miller has showed the potential to put the ball in the basket with a 10.4 scoring average.
Illinois built a double-digit lead in the first half against Rutgers but were unable to hold it. Nevertheless, Dosunmu and Cockburn make the Illini a threat to win the Big Ten title.
Penn State Overcomes Turmoil
Like every other team in the country, Penn State had to navigate the challenges of getting ready for the season in a pandemic.
Making the task tougher for the Nittany Lions was having coach Patrick Chambers resign in October following allegations of “inappropriate conduct.”
1. Patrick Chambers has been the subject of Penn State internal investigation for the past several months, led by PSU athletics integrity officer Robert Boland, PennLive has learned. Interviews with many former players and coaches have centered around Chambers’ treatment of them.
— David Jones (@djoneshoop) October 21, 2020
Assistant coach Jim Ferry is serving as the interim head coach this season. He has head coaching experience at Long Island and Duquesne.
Despite the loss of Chambers and two-time All-Big 10 forward Lamar Stevens, Penn State has held its own so far this season, including knocking off Virginia Tech by 20 points on the road Dec. 8.
Penn State has attempted to make up for losing Stevens by using a scoring-by-committee approach. Four players are averaging double digits – sophomore forward Seth Lundy (14.4), junior guard Izaiah Brockington (14.0), junior guard Myreon Jones (11.8) and junior guard Samuel Sessoms (11.8), a transfer from Binghamton.
[email protected] is turning up. ?
Seth Lundy hits another triple, and it’s a 14-point first-half lead: pic.twitter.com/ItKDgjOptN
— Penn State On BTN (@PennStateOnBTN) February 27, 2020
The Nittany Lions had a chance to upset Michigan in Ann Arbor but failed to score over the last three minutes while the Wolverines rallied. Penn State held Michigan to 20 points under their season average and forced 16 turnovers.
Nittany Lions’ Streak Snapped
Penn State had won six games in a row against Illinois until losing 62-56 at home i the teams’ lone meeting last season. Dosunmu scored 24 points and Cockburn added 14.
Look for the Illini to win again in their return trip to State College.
Pick: Illinois -3 (-112)