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No. 17 Tennessee vs. No. 20 Illinois: How To Watch, Betting Odds, Complete Preview

Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee basketball hosts Illinois at Thompson-Boling Arena at Food City Center on Saturday for its fifth matchup against a KenPom top 15 team in nine games.

The Vols bounced back from their three-game losing streak by defeating George Mason on Tuesday night in Knoxville and are now looking to start a winning streak against a strong Fighting Illini team.

Here’s everything to know about the top 20 matchup.

More From RTI: Unique Matchups To Watch In Tennessee’s Showdown Against Illinois

How to Watch – No. 17 Tennessee (5-3) vs. No. 20 Illinois (7-1)

  • Start Time: noon ET/11 a.m. CT
  • Location: Thompson-Boling Arena at Food City Center
  • TV: CBS. PxP: Rich Waltz. CC: Bill Raftery and Jay Wright. Sideline: Jon Rothstein
  • Online Streaming: CBS
  • Radio (Knoxville): The Vol Network/The Vol Network App

Betting Lines

Draft Kings

Spread: Tennessee -6 Illinois

Totals: Over/under 145.5


Spread: Tennessee -5 Illinois

Totals: Over/under 147

Probable Starters

Tennessee (via UT Game Notes)

Illinois (via Illinois Game Notes)

What Rick Barnes said about Illinois

On hosting Illinois

“I don’t know. It’ll be interesting. I mean, they’re a hard nosed, physical team as you would expect. It’s gonna be a hard fought basketball game. (Brad Underwood is a) Great basketball coach, great scheme, physicality is gonna be there. I know they’re gonna play extremely hard. I have confidence in our guys, but it’s basically, if you think about it, it’s gonna be our what fourth or fifth ranked game in what, less than 10 games? I still believe it’s gonna help us in the long run, but you’re basically talking about a conference game here in December. I don’t think there’s any question the next year or two we’re going to be playing, like the Big 10, a conference game this time of year. I think the Big 10 opened up conference play tonight. I think it’s going to happen to us. So might as well get used to it and know that it’s gonna be a tough, hard fought game.”

Team Statistics (via Sports Reference)



Stat Leaders


Points: Dalton Knecht — 19 PPG, 49.1 FG%, 39 3PT%

Rebounds: Jonas Aidoo — 7.1 RPG, 5.5 DRPG, 1.6 ORPG

Assists: Zakai Zeigler — 3.9 APG, 2.3 TOPG, 21.9 MPG


Points: Terrence Shannon Jr. — 21.6 PPG, 53.9 FG%, 45.3 3PT%

Rebounds: Quincy Guerrier — 6.9 RPG, 5.6 DRPG, 1.3 ORPG

Assists: Terrence Shannon Jr. — 2.8 APG, 2.5 TOPG, 31.8 MPG

Last Five Games


  • 87-66 win versus George Mason
  • 100-92 loss at North Carolina
  • 69-60 loss against Kansas (Maui Invitational)
  • 71-67 loss against Purdue (Maui Invitational)
  • 76-53 win over Syracuse (Maui Invitational)


  • 98-89 win over FAU (New York City)
  • 76-58 win at Rutgers
  • 84-52 win versus Western Illinois
  • 88-60 win over Southeastern
  • 87-64 win versus Valparaiso


Tennessee’s early season gauntlet continues on Saturday when the Vols host a strong Illinois team playing great basketball early in the season.

Everything starts and ends for Illinois with guard Terrence Shannon Jr. who is an early season National Player of the Year candidate. That makes me think this will be a big Jahmai Mashack who has proven an ability to guard just about anyone in the country.

But Illinois also boasts a big lineup that makes them a strong rebounding team despite not having one elite rebounder. It’ll be integral for Tennessee to hold its own on the glass and that makes Jonas Aidoo, Tobe Awaka and Josiah-Jordan James important in this game.

The Vols are hungry for a big win and its their first big win of the season. I expect Tennessee to get the job done in a low scoring game than expected.

Tennessee 73, Illinois 69

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