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The No. 24 Illinois Fighting Illini and the Northwestern Wildcats come together for a nationally televised Big Ten showdown at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Saturday (1 p.m. ET, CBS) The Fighting Illini (15-7, 10-10 ATS, 5-4 Big Ten) were able to stop a brief losing streak in their last game, but they’ll need to string together some wins to trap the Purdue Boilermakers and Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten. All three trail well behind the No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes. Northwestern (13-8 SU, 9-6 ATS, 3-7 Big Ten) is even more desperate to win, as the Wildcats have lost three in a row.

Illinois had been riding a two-game skid before beating the Penn State Nittany Lions 68-51 on Monday. The Fighting Illini covered as a hometown favorite by 8 points and the scoring stayed under 130 total. Mike Davis scored 22 points to lead Illinois. He scored 10 points on dunks, much to the delight of the sparse crowd that turned out despite a bitter winter storm. Davis scored seven straight points midway through the second half to give the Illini a 52-39 lead, and Bill Cole added 10 for the Illini. Northwestern got a huge confidence boost in their last game as they nearly eliminated No. 1 Ohio State. The Wildcats lost 58-57 but cashed in like a 10-point home underdog.

The Wildcats will be looking for revenge in this matchup, having been embarrassed in a 25-point loss against Illinois in their last meeting on January 1. 6. The Fighting Illini cruised to an 88-63 victory and easily cashed in as an 8-point hometown favorite. The score topped the plus/minus total of 143. Illinois has absolutely dominated the Wildcats in the recent head-to-head series, going 9-1 SU in the last 10. However, Northwestern has played the Fighting Illini closely , covering in five of those matches.

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