Syracuse basketball at No. 16 Illinois odds, prediction and how to watch

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /

Syracuse basketball has lost two close games in a row and already has three setbacks in this young 2022-23 season. Now the Orange is getting ready to play perhaps its most challenging encounter in the non-conference portion of the team’s schedule.

This past Saturday on the Hill, the ‘Cuse and Bryant engaged in an ugly affair where Syracuse basketball freshman point guard Judah Mintz, several Bulldogs players and some assistant coaches were ejected for an unfortunate physical situation that occurred.

With Mintz gone in the second half, freshman wing Justin Taylor stepped up big time, collecting an impressive 25 points. However, a Bryant player scored on a tough floater right before the final buzzer sounded, and the Bulldogs stunned Syracuse basketball, 73-72, in Central New York.

I credit the ‘Cuse (3-3) for clawing back from a double-digit deficit in the second half, with Mintz, the squad’s leading scorer to date in 2022-23, not available.

And even though plenty of games remain in the current term, I am at least a little concerned about where Syracuse basketball is, having fallen now to Bryant, St. John’s and Colgate, while registering prior victories over Richmond, Northeastern and Lehigh.

But as the Orange is struggling, the ‘Cuse also has to regroup, because it will compete at top-20 Illinois on Tuesday night in what we all learned on Monday will be the final ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Atlantic Coast Conference officials said via a press release on Monday that beginning in 2023-24, the ACC, the Southeastern Conference and ESPN are forming the annual ACC-SEC Challenge in both men’s and women’s basketball.

The Fighting Illini (5-1) is ranked No. 16 in the latest Associated Press top-25 poll, while it checks in at No. 17 in the most recent Coaches poll. Illinois is expected to be one of the top groups in the Big Ten Conference throughout 2022-23.

Most recently, the Fighting Illini crushed Lindenwood, 92-59. Illinois has also picked up a victory over then-No. 8 UCLA, while the Fighting Illini’s lone setback in 2022-23 is to Virginia, which is presently ranked No. 3 across the country.

Syracuse basketball at Illinois odds

Per, when I wrote this column, the Orange was an 11.5-point betting underdog, with the over/under set at 144.5 points.

Syracuse basketball at Illinois prediction

While the ‘Cuse did suit up at a neutral site against both Richmond and St. John’s at the recently held 2022 Empire Classic in New York City, the Orange’s collision with Illinois represents the first true road game for Syracuse basketball, and it will likely be a rough one for the ‘Cuse.

In their short all-time series together, the Orange is 1-2 versus Illinois. That includes a heartbreaking 89-86 loss by Syracuse basketball to the Fighting Illini in the Elite Eight of the 1989 NCAA Tournament.

Besides the fact that this encounter is away from the Hill, I don’t like this match-up for the ‘Cuse for a variety of reasons. Illinois owns statistical advantages over Syracuse basketball in numerous categories, per the ESPN Web site.

As a collective unit, the Fighting Illini hits on a strong 37.7 percent from beyond the arc, and that doesn’t bode well for a ‘Cuse defense that hasn’t looked overly impressive so far in the 2022-23 stanza, whether it’s in the zone or man-to-man.

I’m glad that the final ACC-Big Ten Challenge game for Syracuse basketball is against another Orange-clad school, but unfortunately, that foe simply seems far superior to the ‘Cuse at this juncture in 2022-23. I’ll go with Illinois to prevail here by a sizable margin.

Injuries, how to watch, live stream, next game
On the injury front, I’m not aware of any significant injuries to note as the Orange aims for its fourth victory of the 2022-23 campaign. Certainly, we’ll stay on top of this topic throughout the current term.

That being said, in the team’s most recent loss to Bryant, sophomore forward Benny Williams was reportedly under the weather and played sparingly, while sophomore big man Mounir Hima didn’t play at all. Hima was available in that game, but he reportedly had been dealing with a lower-body injury.

Syracuse basketball and the Fighting Illini are slated to begin their contest at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 29, inside the State Farm Center in Champaign, Ill. ESPN will provide television coverage.

For Syracuse basketball and Illinois fans who want to stream this game, you can check it out on fuboTV.

After the Orange’s critical battle with Illinois, the ‘Cuse will transition to its first Atlantic Coast Conference match-up, as Syracuse basketball will head to Notre Dame on Saturday, Dec. 3. Tip-off is scheduled for 12 pm, with this league clash set to air on ESPN2.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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