FILE – Illinois center Kofi Cockburn (21) drives to the basket past Iowa center Luka Garza (55) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Iowa City, Iowa, in this Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, file photo. For all the success Luka Garza has experienced at Iowa, he can’t forget one moment of failure. With 1.6 seconds left against Illinois last March, Garza had a chance to tie the game when he took an inbound pass near the basket. Kofi Cockburn blocked his shot, and the Illini won 78-76. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
- Illinois is a two-point favorite at home over Iowa on Friday night in a Big Ten game at the State Farm Center in Champaign
- Neither team has played in over a week because of postponements related to COVID-19
- The odds, line and spread on Iowa-Illinois along with analysis can be found below
Two teams coming off layoffs and trying to stay near the top of the Big Ten standings meet when Iowa visits Illinois at 9pm ET Friday at the State Farm Center in Champaign.
#7 Iowa (12-3 overall, 6-3 in the Big Ten) will be playing for the first time Jan. 21 when it had its five-game winning streak snapped by visiting Indiana. #19 Illinois (10-5, 6-3) last played Jan. 19 when it stopped a two-game losing streak by beating visiting Penn State.
Both the Hawkeyes and Fighting Illini have since had games postponed because of COVID-19 issues.
Iowa vs Illinois Odds
|Iowa||+110||+2 (-118)||Over 162.5 (-118)|
|Illinois||-133||-2 (-110)||Under 162.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Jan. 28 from FoxBet
Iowa Looks To Bounce Back
Iowa has had a week to stew over its worst defeat of the season, as it lost 81-69 to Indiana despite being a 10-point favorite.
Though senior center Luka Garza had his usual standout performance with 28 points and 12 rebounds, Iowa was held to its lowest scoring output of the season. The Hawkeyes are averaging 90.7 points a game, the second-best mark in the nation behind Gonzaga.
The Indiana Hoosiers pulled off the upset over the Iowa Hawkeyes behind a 23 point performance from Trayce Jackson-Davis.@IndianaMBB pic.twitter.com/tCbrAiSiKB
— Indiana On BTN (@IndianaOnBTN) January 22, 2021
Iowa led 53-44 with 12 minutes left before the Hoosiers put the clamps on. The Hawkeyes went 11 minutes without a field goal as Indiana went on a 23-3 run to take control of the game.
Iowa shot just 26.5% (9-of-34) in the second half, including making only 1-of-10 (10%) attempts from 3-point range. Overall, the Hawkeyes made just 21.7% (5-of-23) of its 3s, a far cry from their 38.4% season average, which is 25th nationally.
While Garza recorded his seventh double-double of the season, junior wing Joe Wieskamp was the only other Iowa player to score in double figures. However, 15 of Wieskamp’s 16 points came in the first half.
Garza remains the favorite to win national Player of the Year honors as he leads the country in scoring with a 26.9 average while also pulling down 8.9 rebounds and blocking 1.8 shots a game. He is shooting 61% from the floor, 46.2% on 3-pointers and 75.5% on free throws.
Luka Garza WENT OFF!
41 points 14-15 FG 🔥
9 rebounds 🔥
3 blocks 🔥
(via @IowaOnBTN) pic.twitter.com/QujUGOGIfJ
— Stadium (@Stadium) November 28, 2020
Senior guard Jordan Bohannon was held scoreless as he missed all nine field goal attempts. He had been averaging 17.0 points in his previous five games.
Sophomore guard CJ Fredrick missed the second half with a lower leg injury but there is a chance he could play Friday. He is averaging 9.1 points a game, making 50% of his 3-point attempts and his 4.4 turnover rate is fifth in the nation.
Cockburn to Challenge Garza
Illinois is one of the few teams in the nation who has a center that can match up with Garza in sophomore Kofi Cockburn. He is averaging 17.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots a game while shooting 70.1% from the field.
Illinois’ Superstar Center Kofi Cockburn leads the B1G in FG (71%) and the NATION in double-doubles (11). 🔶🔷🔨 pic.twitter.com/8AKqjBZLqs
— Dariush Takhtehchian, M.D (@takhtehchianmd) January 25, 2021
Cockburn had 21 points and 12 rebounds against Penn State. It was his 11th double-double of the season, which leads the nation.
Junior guard Ayo Dosunmu has averages of 21.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists and accounts for 30% of Illinois’ offensive possession. Though was held to 13 points by Penn State, Dosunmu compensated with a team-high five assists.
This dunk from Bezhanishvili sparked a huge run to end the half for Illinois. They lead Penn State 42-28. pic.twitter.com/g1BQyG7isY
— College Basketball Bonanza (@CollegeBonanza) January 20, 2021
Illinois had little problem with the Nittany Lions. The Illini built an early 13-5, stretched it to 42-24 by halftime then coasted home.
That was a welcome sign as Illinois has been plagued by slow starts this season.
Tight Terms Last Season
The teams split two games last season with each winning at home, Iowa 72-65 as a 4.5-point favorite and Illinois 78-76 as a four-point choice.
Garza had a combined 53 points and 18 rebounds in the two games but had a shot blocked by Cockburn with 1.6 seconds left that could have tied the game Iowa lost. Donsunmu had a total of 29 points in the two games.
Garza gets his revenge here in what should be a hotly contested matchup of talented teams.
Pick: Iowa +2 (-118)
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.