For the first time in nearly 28 years, Marquette and Illinois finally meet again. this time in Milwaukee. Coming off a pair of unimpressive victories over SIU-Edwardsville and New Hampshire, this is certainly an uptick in competition as Shaka Smart seeks a massive home win in his first season with the Golden Eagles against a short-handed Illini squad. Illinois is currently 10th in the country and is coming off two blowout wins over Jackson State and Arkansas State. They began the season without 2020-21 second-team All-American Kofi Cockburn (suspension), Austin Hutcherson, Trent Frazier, and Andre Curbelo, but they’ve since gotten the two latter players back.
How to watch 10 Illinois vs. Marquette
Time: 7:00 ET
Stream: Fox Sports App
(via DraftKings Sportsbook)
Spread: Illinois -8 | Marquette +8
Over/Under: O 148 (-105) | U 148 (-115)
Moneyline: Illinois -350 | Marquette +270
While Marquette gets a boost at home due to Illinois still being without one of the nation’s premier defenders in Cockburn, Illinois is a great defensive squad who will give a Marquette team still searching for its identity fits. Shaka Smart teams historically play great defense, and the Golden Eagles are going to have to match that energy and production on the defensive end themselves and make the Illini grind out possessions.
A Golden Eagle win is obviously going to have to be keyed through their top scorers, Maryland transfer Darryl Morsell and Justin Lewis, but they need more production from other new transfers, Kur Kuath (Oklahoma) and Tyler Kolek (George Mason) in order to topple one of college basketball’s giants.
With a new coach and an abundance of transfers coming in, there’s sure to be growing pains as the Golden Eagles begin to find their identity. The more this Marquette team gets to play together, the more cohesive they’ll become throughout the season, but I would peg Illinois as a safe bet in this one.