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Buffaloes vs. Illini Betting & NCAA Tourney Preview | Free Pick

Buffaloes vs Fighting Illini NCAA Tourney Spread/Handicapping

The No. 10 Colorado Buffaloes and the No. 7 Fighting Illini are set to face off Friday, March 22 in a second round matchup in the East Region. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:40 PM ET, and it can be viewed on TNT.

NCAA Tournament – East Bracket
No. 10 Colorado Buffaloes (21-11, 10-8 Pac-12) vs. No. 7 Illinois Fighting Illini (22-12, 8-10 Big Ten)
Friday, March 22, 2013
4:40 PM ET
Austin, TX
Spread: Illinois -1.5 at SportsBettingOnline.ag
ML: N/A
O/U: 126.5

Matchup | Preview

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Colorado Buffaloes

The Colorado Buffaloes established themselves this season as a solid rebounding team on the defensive side of the floor. Forward Andre Roberson has dominated the glass all season, and he’s a big reason the team doesn’t allow second-chance points very often.

The other thing that this team has going for them is ball control. Colorado won’t give the ball away often, and in a single-elimination game, good defense and smart offense are two of the most important areas where you can excel.

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Where the Buffaloes need to improve is in their offensive efficiency. They shot just 43.6 percent on the season, and they were 328th in the country in assists per game (10.0). This team plays at a snail’s speed, so making the shots that they get is always important.

Illinois Fighting Illini

The Illinois Fighting Illini don’t shoot a good percentage, but they know how to put the ball in the basket. They’re shooting just 41.6 percent on the year, which is only good enough for 261st in the nation, but nearly a third of their points came on long-range buckets. [ad-6571516]

This team isn’t going to look inside much, but when it does, it has an improving option in Nnanna Egwu. Aside from the big man, the team will look to create opportunities on the perimeter for Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson—both have more than 70 three-pointers on the year.

There’s no better way to describe this team’s chances in the tournament than by using the old cliché: live by the three, die by the three. They lack size inside, which is why they struggling scoring and defending in the paint. They made enough long-distance shots to earn their seed, but they’re a dangerous squad to trust when their shots aren’t falling.

Coming into this matchup, the Illini are the higher seed, but Colorado is used to playing against tough competition. It played seven ranked opponents on the season, winning four of those matchups. The problem is that their defense is most effective in the paint, which is an area Illinois will look to avoid.

If the Illini’s shot is off, it’s going to be their own doing. The Buffaloes won’t challenge the perimeter from start to finish, meaning Illinois should get the same looks that earned them a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Prediction: Illini 77 – Buffaloes 70

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