College Basketball Picks for December 31st 2011: Purdue vs. Illinois Prediction
Illinois vs. Purdue
College Basketball Pick: Purdue -7 (December 31st 2011)
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Illinois started the season 10-0 but it has lost two of its last four games and I think the real Illini team is coming to the forefront. A win over Gonzaga was definitely a good one but it was a good situation as Illinois was catching the Bulldogs in their first road game of the season. The Illini did defeat Maryland in its only true road game this season but the Terrapins will be battling Boston College as the worst team in the ACC. A loss against Missouri by four points was a quality loss but that was on a neutral floor in St. Louis.
Purdue finished 26-8 last season but was bumped in the second round of the NCAA Tournament by VCU. It was a tough ending in the careers of JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore and their presence we knew would be missed but this team is still pretty loaded. Forward Robbie Hummel returned to the lineup following a second ACL injury on his right knee and he has been awesome, averaging 17.4 ppg and 6.3 rpg. The backcourt is loaded led by point guard Lewis Jackson.
Purdue does have three losses this season but all three came on a neutral floor against two solid teams in Alabama and Xavier and a rival in Butler thanks to a big comeback by the Bulldogs. The Boilermakers are a perfect 8-0 at home and they have won 25 straight games at Mackey Arena which is the fifth longest winning home court streak in the country. This is the first true home test of the season for Purdue but it is a game it should pass with flying colors.
Taking care of the ball has been a staple for Matt Painters teams and this year is no exception. The Boilermakers are averaging just 9.5 tpg, and have five games on the season in which they’ve committed seven turnovers of fewer. Purdue is +5.6 in turnover margin this season and its 1.53 assist/turnover ratio is ninth best in the country. Purdue has won but not covered the last two home meetings with Illinois but this is the lowest line of the three and the Boilermakers should cruise to victory here. 3* (582) Purdue Boilermakers. Get more college basketball picks for December 31st 2011 from Matt Fargo at Touthouse.com