Texas basketball vs. Illinois: Prediction and odds college basketball

Terrence Shannon Jr., Chris Beard, Texas basketball Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Terrence Shannon Jr., Chris Beard, Texas basketball Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /

What could be the final ranked game of the non-conference schedule before the turn of the calendar year for head coach Chris Beard and No. 2 ranked Texas basketball lies ahead on Dec. 6. Texas will take on head coach Brad Underwood and the No. 17 ranked Illinois Fighting Illini as the men in burnt orange look to continue to stay undefeated to start the season.

Beard and the Longhorns come into the Jimmy V. Classic on Dec. 6 with a record of 6-0 (0-0 Big 12) following a 72-67 win over the No. 7 ranked Creighton Blue Jays at home at the Moody Center on Dec. 1. Texas is now undefeated in two games against ranked opponents this season, with a victory also coming over the No. 2 Gonzaga Bulldogs at home by double digits on Nov. 16.

Meanwhile, Illinois comes into the Jimmy V. Classic with a record of 6-2 (0-1 Big Ten) following a close 71-66 loss at the hands of the No. 22 Maryland Terrapins on the road in the conference opener on Dec. 2.

Here’s a look at the betting odds and game prediction as Texas gets set to face Illinois in the Jimmy V. Classic at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 6, with the tip-off time set for 6 p.m. CT.

Texas basketball vs. Illinois: Odds for Dec. 1

Texas is a 2.5-point favorite over Illinois, and the over/under is set at 141.5 (per FanDuel).

The moneyline favors Texas (-142) slightly over Illinois (+116).

According to the ESPN Basketball Power Index, Texas has a 64.9 percent chance of beating Illinois.

Texas vs. Illinois prediction

If the Longhorns can get a third-straight win over a ranked opponent, that would be huge. It would also help the Longhorns have an even stronger argument to pass the Houston Cougars for the No. 1 ranking in the major polls.

Illinois is a different type of opponent than the Longhorns faced compared to Creighton and Gonzaga. This is a fast-paced Illinois team that can put up a bunch of points in the blink of an eye.

Led by the team’s leading scorer, former Texas Tech Red Raiders wing Terrence Shannon Jr., Illinois is averaging around 81 points per game (43rd in the country).

Don’t be deceived by the fast pace that the Fighting Illini plays at this season, Illinois still is one of the better defensive teams in the country. Illinois ranks 12th in the country with a stellar 83.4 defensive rating.

Next. Texas vs. Illinois: 3 bold predictions for Jimmy V. Classic. dark

Texas also has to pass the test of facing a ranked opponent away from the friendly confines of the Moody Center in Austin. This will be a good challenge for the Longhorns as we move closer to the start of conference play in a little less than a month.

Final score prediction: Texas-81, Illinois-78