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Illinois vs Iowa State Predictions, Player Props & Picks for the Sweet 16

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in College Basketball

Updated Mar 28, 2024 · 7:42 AM PDT

The Iowa State Cyclones celebrating
The Iowa State Cyclones bench reacts in a second-round NCAA Tournament game between Iowa State and Washington State, Saturday, March 23, 2024 at CHI Health Center Arena in Omaha.
  • The #3 Illinois Fighting Illini face the #2 Iowa State Cyclones in the 2024 Sweet 16
  • Illinois has scored 85-plus points in four straight, while Iowa State has held ten straight opponents under 65
  • See the Illinois vs Iowa State predictions, props, and picks for March 28

A stark contrast in styles is on tap in the East Region Sweet 16 when the #3 Illinois Fighting Illini (28-8, 7-0 neutral, 20-13-3 ATS) square off with the #2 Iowa State Cyclones (29-7, 6-2 neutral, 25-10-1 ATS).

Tip-off between Illinois and Iowa State is scheduled for 10:10 pm ET at TD Garden in Boston, MA, on Thursday night, and  the odds are the narrowest on the board among the eight Sweet 16 matchups, with the Cyclones listed as slight 1.5-point favorites.

Illinois vs Iowa State Odds

Matchup Spread Moneyline Total
Illinois Fighting Illini +1.5 (-110) -100 O 146.5 (-108)
Iowa State Cyclones -1.5 (-110) -120 U 146.5 (-112)

The Illinois/ISU moneyline shows Iowa State as a modest -120 favorite to win straight-up with the Illini at even money. The game total is sitting at 146.6.

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Odds as of March 28. Download one of the best March Madness betting apps to bet on the Sweet 16. 

The winner between Illinois and Iowa State will move onto the Elite Eight in the March Madness bracket, facing either #1 UConn or #5 San Diego State, who meet earlier in the day at TD Garden in a rematch of last year’s national championship game.

UConn is a heavy -230 favorite to win the East Region in the updated Final Four odds, followed by ISU at +425, Illinois at +600, and San Diego State at a distant +1400.

Illinois Offense Clicking

After a dominant offensive performance led the Illini to a Big Ten Tournament title, Illinois’ attack has stayed hot in the NCAA Tournament. The Illini dropped 85 points in their first-round win over #14 Morehead State (85-69) and then blew out #11 Duquesne 89-63 in round two.

Terrence Shannon Jr – the third-leading scorer in the nation at 23.3 PPG – had a game-high 26 against Morehead and 30 against Duquesne. Shannon has now scored at least 25 points in six straight games, including a 40 spot against Nebraska in the Big Ten semifinals.

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Illinois’ hot streak has moved its offense to first in efficiency at KenPom. The team is hitting at 35.3% from three (105th) and 55.3% from two (21st) while grabbing 36.2% of offensive-rebound chances (16th).

Marcus Domask – a Southern Illinois transfer who’s playing a point-forward role for Brad Underwood’s team – became just the tenth player to record a triple-double in the NCAA Tournament during the first round, with 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists against Morehead State.

The Illini defense is a different story, sitting 91st in efficiency at KenPom and allowing 73.4 PPG. in five of Illinois’ eight losses this season, the opposition scored at least 80 points.

Illinois is 9-6 straight-up against top-50 teams this season, but only 3-5 against teams in KenPom’s top 50.

Cyclones Distance Cougars in Second Half

With its offense sputtering, Iowa State found itself in an early 11-1 hole against #7 Washington State in the round of 32. But the Cyclones had come back to tie the game at 27s by halftime and dominated the second half en route to a 67-56 victory as 6.5-point chalk.

Four different Cyclones finished in double-figures, led by 15 from Tamin Lipsey and 14 off the bench from Curtis Jones. Iowa State’s stifling defense held WSU to 43.1% from the field and just 21.7% from three (5-of-23) while forcing 13 turnovers and sending the Cougars to the line just nine times.

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While Illinois now sits first in offensive efficiency, the Cyclones have moved into first in defensive efficiency. ISU has held ten straight opponents under 70 points and is allowing just 61.3 PPG for the year.

They sit second on turnover percentage on defense, forcing turnovers on 25.2% of possessions, which more than makes up for a subpar defensive-rebound percentage (70.6%, 196th).

Iowa State is 12-5 against top-50 teams and 5-3 against top-25 teams, including a pair of victories over Houston (57-53 home, 69-41 neutral).

ILL vs ISU Player Props

Player Points Rebounds Assists Three-Pointers Made
Coleman Hawkins (ILL) 10.5 (Ov -110 | Un -130) 6.5 (Ov -100 | Un -140) 2.5 (Ov  -140 | Un -100) 1.5 (Ov -105 | Un -135)
Curtis Jones (ISU) 11.5 (Ov -105 | Un -135) 3.5 (Ov +135 | Un -175) OFF 1.5 (Ov -175 | Un +135)
Hason Ward (ISU) 6.5 (Ov -110 | Un -130) 3.5 (Ov -130 | Un -110) OFF OFF
Kehson Gilbert (ISU) 13.5 (Ov -125 | Un -115) 4.5 (Ov +105 | Un -145) 4.5 (Ov -100 | Un -140) 0.5 (Ov -225 | Un +165)
Marcus Domask (ILL) 15.5 (Ov +105 | Un -145) 5.5 (Ov -100 | Un -140) 4.5 (Ov  -130 | Un -110) 1.5 (Ov +130 | Un -170)
Milan Momcilovic (ISU) 9.5 (Ov -145 | Un +105) 3.5 (Ov -105 | Un -135) OFF 1.5 (Ov -110 | Un -130)
Robert Jones (ISU) 6.5 (Ov -140 | Un -100) 3.5 (Ov -155 | Un +115) OFF OFF
Tamin Lipsey (ISU) 12.5 (Ov -110 | Un -130) 4.5 (Ov +115 | Un -155) 4.5 (Ov  +110 | Un -150) 1.5 (Ov +150 | Un -200)
Terrence Shannon Jr (ILL) 21.5 (Ov -110 | Un -130) 3.5 (Ov -125 | Un -115) 2.5 (Ov  +125 | Un -165) 2.5 (Ov -110 | Un -130)
Tre King (ISU) 7.5 (Ov -135 | Un -105) 5.5 (Ov -150 | Un +110) OFF OFF

Shannon has the highest point total at 21.5, which is two points under his season average and 3.5 fewer than he’s scored in each of his last six games. ISU leading scorer Keshon Gilbert leads the Cyclones at 13.5 O/U, which is right on his season average of 13.7 PPG.

Illinois vs Iowa State Prediction

Excepting a 90-89 OT loss to Penn State, all of Illinois setbacks this year came against teams with elite defenses. Duquesne was of a similar ilk (31st in defensive efficiency, 264th in tempo) but didn’t have the horses to keep up with Shannon and company. Iowa State will be a different story. There won’t be any gap in athleticism between the teams, and I am sticking with the Cyclones – who I have in the national championship game in my expert bracket – to advance.

ILL vs ISU pick: Iowa State moneyline (-120)

Sascha Paruk NCAA Tournament betting record: 19-17 (+0.51 units)

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