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The Illinois Fighting Illini (23-6) take on the Drexel Dragons (12-7) in a Midwest Region First Round game on Friday afternoon. The top-seeded Illini and 16th-seeded Dragons will tip off at 1:15 p.m. ET at Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis. Below, we analyze the Illinois-Drexel odds and lines, with March Madness NCAA Tournament picks and predictions.
The Fighting Illini — ranked second in the Ferris Mowers Coaches Poll powered by USA TODAY Sports — won the Big Ten Tournament by defeating No. 7 Ohio State, 91-88, in overtime.
Igets significant and diverse contributions from two First Team All-Big Ten selections (C Kofi Cockburn and G Ayo Dosunmu), the Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year (G Andre Curbelo), and a member of the Big Ten All-Defensive Team (G Trent Frazier).
Courtesy winning the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, Drexel is playing in its first NCAA Tournament since 1996. A solid shooting team (DU ranks in the top-60 nationally in 2-point, 3-point and free-throw shooting), the Dragons are an offense-first group that plays at a relatively slow pace. Drexel has logged an effective field-goal mark of 54%-or-better in eight of its last 10 games