2. Michigan State out-rebounds the Illini
This may not seem like the boldest of predictions, but when you consider that Illinois is one of the best rebounding teams in all of college basketball, pulling in 44 per game, that makes it all the more impressive.
The Illini will be without 6-foot-6 star guard Terrence Shannon Jr. tonight so that takes away a big body from the backcourt to worry about and guys like Jaden Akins and AJ Hoggard should be able to win battles on the glass. Add in Tre Holloman, too.
Oregon transfer Quincy Guerrier is the team's leading rebounder at 7.6 per game while Mady Sissoko leads the Spartans at 6.6 per outing.
I think Michigan State is going to surprise the Illini after what Tom Izzo categorized as a "soft" performance from his guys on Sunday at Northwestern. They gave up way too many offensive boards that led to second-chance points and that's been a killer for the Spartans this year. The pads were likely brought out at practice after that one and they'll be ready for a battle on the glass.
Illinois averages a plus-10 margin on the glass, but I think the Spartans will come out hungry and win the battle of the boards in typical MSU fashion.