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Jason Radowitz makes his pick and previews the matchup between Illinois and Cincinnati on Monday evening.

Illinois Fighting Illini vs Cincinnati Bearcats: How Much of an Impact Will Kofi Cockburn Have?

The Illinois Fighting Illini was hoping to be 3-0 before getting Kofi Cockburn back into the lineup. However, with a loss to Marquette last week, the Fighting Illini will have to settle with being 2-1.

Cockburn, the All Big-Ten center had been suspended for the first three games of the year but was able to return to game action for the Hall of Fame Classic featuring Illinois against the Cincinnati Bearcats.

The Bearcats are currently 4-0 and undefeated, just like their football team. We’ll see if that lasts knowing the Bearcats are major underdogs in this game.

Here are our picks and predictions for the Illinois vs Cincinnati Hall of Fame Classic on Monday, November 22.

Illinois vs Cincinnati Start Time, Where to Watch, and Odds

Date: Saturday, November 22, 2021

Game Time: 6:30 p.m. ET

Where To Watch: ESPN

Illinois vs Cincinnati Odds

Illinois vs Cincinnati INJURY REPORT

Illinois: Questionable: Austin Hutcherson G (Tailbone)

Cincinnati: Questionable: Viktor Lakhin F (Leg), Out: A.J. McGinnis G (Ankle)

Illinois vs Cincinnati Prediction

The Illinois Fighting Illini lost a heartbreaker to Marquette last week in a stunning 67-66 loss. Despite the loss, however, Illinois still has the highest defensive efficiency in the nation according to KenPom.

The defense has held opponents to a 40.5 percent effective field goal percentage while forcing 24 percent turnovers and limiting offensive rebounds to just 20.2 percent.

Opponents are also shooting 38.3 percent inside against Illinois and now Illinois is only going to get better inside with Cockburn available.

Offensively, Illinois is led by Jacob Grandison currently, who is scoring 15 points per game on 57.1 percent from the field. The Fighting Illini are deep with Trent Frazier as the other guard. He’s averaging 17.5 points per game but missed one game earlier this season. Coleman Hawkins has also been a force inside without Cockburn, scoring 14.3 points per game and averaging 9.3 rebounds per game.

Illinois is turning the ball over 26.3 percent of the time but have grabbed 48.4 percent offensive rebounds, which is good for second in the nation. It might be a bit tricky trying to earn rebounds against Cincinnati, but if any team is capable of earning rebounds against the Bearcats, it’s the Fighting Illini.

Cincinnati, on the other hand, is turning the ball over just 13.3 percent of the time. One of the only ways the Bearcats can win this game is by winning the turnover battle by a huge margin.

The defense is also holding opponents to a 39.4 percent effective field goal percentage and limiting teams to a 37.6 percent field goal percentage inside.

Cincinnati has only faced one test this season, which was against a Georgia team that is more than likely going to finish at the bottom of the SEC.

Therefore, I trust this Illinois team. They’ve got plenty of talent and experience to dominate competition throughout the entire year.

Illinois vs Cincinnati Pick

Illinois -10.5 (-110)

Article Author


Jason grew up an avid sports fan. His passion for sports writing grew in high school and he developed a blog that was strictly for New York Sports. From his work, you will quickly realize that he loves looking at games from an analytical and numbers perspective and hopes to provide you with that same perspective in his articles.


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