The No. 12 seed Chattanooga Mocs will look to play Cinderella after winning the Southern Conference Tournament. They’ll be facing the No. 5-seeded Illinois Fighting Illini in the South Region.
Chattanooga went 27-7 on the year and is really no pushover. The Mocs lost by just nine to Murray State earlier this season and have a win against an A-10 team in VCU.
Meanwhile, Illinois’s season was a bit underwhelming compared to preseason expectations. But everyone will forget about their regular season if they can make an NCAA Tournament run. Illinois obviously has the talent to do it.
Illinois vs Chattanooga Odds
Illinois vs. Chattanooga CBB gameday odds are provided by Caesars and are current as of 10:00 a.m. ET on March 15.
- Moneyline: Chattanooga (+270) vs Illinois (-330)
- Spread: Chattanooga +7.5 (-110) vs Illinois -7.5 (-110)
- Over/Under: Over 135.5 (-110) / Under 135.5 (-110)
- Implied Score: Illinois 71.5, Chattanooga 64
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Illinois vs Chattanooga Prediction
Last year it was Loyola Chicago winning in the Round of 32. This year, it could be Chattanooga pulling off the stunner in the first round. The Mocs are an extremely balanced and experienced team that knows how to win.
The Mocs are shooting an effective field goal percentage of 52.8 percent while only turning the ball over 17 percent of the time. It’s going to be hard to find success on the offensive glass, but the Mocs have done well there, earning 32.7 percent offensive rebounds this season.
Chattanooga shoots just 34.1 percent from deep, but the Mocs are capable of knocking down quality looks. From inside the arc, Chattanooga shoots 53.9 percent. They’re also very good at the foul line, shooting 76.6 percent.
Illinois won’t force a whole bunch of turnovers, but they’ve been solid limiting quality looks. Teams are shooting just 32.3 percent against Illinois from downtown and 45.4 percent from inside the arc.
They’ve done well limiting offensive rebounds and continue to limit fouls. Coincidentally, Chattanooga has struggled to get to the line this year.
On offense, Illinois is shooting 36.7 percent from deep and 51.7 percent from inside the arc. Chattanooga has done well limiting three-point shots but has had issues with getting stops inside, allowing opponents to score 52.1 percent on the season.
Illinois loves to take threes, but they’d be better off going inside to Kofi Cockburn for most of this game. Plus, on misses, it might be hard for Illinois to get second chances with Chattanooga limiting teams to 26.3 percent offensive rebounds.
Illinois vs Chattanooga Score Pick
Chattanooga 71, Illinois 69
Illinois is vulnerable. They lost their first game in the Big Ten Tournament to Indiana, 65-63, and struggled to score offensively against a Hoosiers team that was a borderline tournament squad to begin with.
- Print your 2022 March Madness bracket.
Indiana made it as a 12-seed, thanks to its win against Illinois, but overall, Illinois has some bad losses on their resume, including a home loss to Ohio State and a road loss to Maryland. Illinois isn’t active defensively and that will ultimately burn them.
Illinois vs. Chattanooga Best Bets
Chattanooga +7.5 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
I’m calling the upset, but I always like insurance, so I’ll stick with Chattanooga +7.5 in this battle. If the Mocs can continue to shoot at their average rate, they’ll be just fine.
Illinois won’t force turnovers, giving Chattanooga attempts at scoring the basketball. The more attempts you’re given, the more successful you’ll be.
But even if Chattanooga isn’t on its game offensively, the Mocs can transition into playing really good defense, just like their game against Furman in the Southern Finals, where the Mocs beat a very good offense in overtime, allowing just 63 points.
OVER 135.5 Total Points (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
I’m sure Chattanooga is going to want to slow things down in this game. But ultimately, if this game comes down to the wire, foul shots should help this game get Over the total. Chattanooga is shooting 76.6 percent from the line and Illinois is hitting 70.8 percent from the line.
Illinois will be successful inside the arc and will more than likely win some opportunities on the offensive glass against a mid-major opponent like Chattanooga. Still, the Mocs will limit turnovers better than Illinois and should be able to get up plenty of shot attempts.
Again, I continue to say this, but it’s true: The more attempts a mid-major team can take, the better they’ll be. The Mocs are very capable of having a big night offensively.
This game is going Over the total.