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Illinois vs. Iowa State Odds, Picks, and Predictions

Written by: Tanner Kern
Published March 28, 2024
10 min read
  • Illinois won their first two tournament games by a combined 42 points

  • Iowa State struggled with Washington State in the second round

  • The winner will face UConn or San Diego State in the Elite 8

Illinois and Iowa State will battle in the Sweet 16 Thursday night from TD Garden in Boston. This will be the second of two games from the Boston Garden. 

UConn and San Diego State were dealt the early time slot. However, the Illini and Cyclones should be the more competitive matchup of the night. 

Illinois is the third seed, and Iowa State is the second seed in the East Region. The contrasting styles between the two programs make this game challenging to call. 

Here, we will break down everything you need to know about Illinois vs. Iowa State and give our best bet for the matchup.

March Madness 2024 Illinois vs. Iowa State

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Illinois vs. Iowa State Prediction and Odds 

Illinois Illini

The Illinois Illini have the most dominant offense in the country. They can score at will, which can be a massive advantage over Iowa State’s stagnant offensive attack. 

Illinois has the best adjusted offensive efficiency, according to the KenPom Ratings. Their potent offense has been on full display throughout the NCAA Tournament. 

The Illini beat Morehead State 85-69 in the first round and followed it up with an 89-63 victory over Duquesne. Neither of these teams is on Iowa State’s level, but it should be a massive confidence boost for the Illini heading into Thursday. 

Illinois has a few players who can score, but Terrence Shannon Jr. is the headliner. Shannon has been one of the best players in the country all season. 

The 6’6” guard is from Chicago and spent the past two seasons with the Illini. He played for three seasons at Texas Tech but has come into his own in his fifth collegiate season. 

Shannon scored 23.3 points per game this season and shot 48.1% from the field. The biggest issue with Shannon and the Illini is their defense. They can score, but if they go cold from the field, Iowa State should cruise on Thursday. 

Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State is the exact opposite of Illinois. They struggle on offense, and this was clear in the first few minutes when they were against Washington State. 

The Cyclones didn’t record a field goal until the 13:54 mark of the first half. At this point, they were only down three points.

However, if they have this type of start on Thursday, Illinois will bury the Cyclones before the game truly starts. The Cyclones have a great defense, ranking first in KenPom, but Illinois will still succeed based on their early tournament results. 

Iowa State must score to keep pace with the Illini. Keshon Gilbert and Tamin Lipsey are the good guards who lead the scoring charge. They each average double digits and play well off each other nightly. 

Illinois vs. Iowa State Pick

Stylistically, this is a bad matchup for Iowa State. Illinois is good enough offensively to make shots against the best defenses. 

Iowa State won’t have a scoring answer if Shannon Jr. goes nuclear. We expect Illinois to stay hot from the field and advance to the Elite 8. 

How to Watch Illinois vs. Iowa State

  • When: Saturday, March 28 @ 10:09 PM ET

  • Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

  • TV: TBS

  • Streaming: March Madness App

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Tanner Kern

345 Articles

Tanner Kern has been working in the betting industry since 2020. He currently is a social media content creator at DraftKings and contributes to multiple sites in addition to WSN, including Forbes and VSiN. He is also the cohost of the podcast Ride the Line at WSN.

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