The UConn Huskies and Illinois Fighting Illini will face off in the Elite 8 of the 2024 NCAA Basketball Tournament. In the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, UConn continued their postseason dominance with an 82-52 victory over San Diego State. Illinois led their game against Iowa State from the outset, ultimately holding off the Cyclones for a 72-69 win. This is a matchup between arguably the two top offenses in the sport, meaning a UConn vs Illinois prediction will be difficult to make.

Below, we will preview this Elite 8 NCAA Tournament college basketball game, providing data, trends and analysis. Which school will win and keep their hopes of winning the championship trophy alive?

UConn vs Illinois Prediction and Elite 8 March Madness Picks

2024 NCAA Tournament – Elite 8
No. 1 UConn Huskies (34-3) vs. No. 3 Illinois Fighting Illini (29-8)
Date: Saturday, March 30, 2024
Time: 6:09 PM EST
Venue: TD Garden — Boston, MA
Coverage: TBS

Watch the NCAA Tournament on Paramount+

UConn vs Illinois March Madness Odds

All college basketball betting odds for UConn vs Illinois can be found at BetUS Sportsbook.

Moneyline: CONN: (-410) | ILL: (+325)
Point Spread: CONN: -8.5 (-110) | ILL: +8.5 (-110)
Total: 155 — Over: (-110) | Under: (-110)

KenPom Rankings | Bracketology

KenPom Rankings are from

UConn1127.1 (1)92.7 (6)64.9 (319)
Illinois10126.2 (2)101.3 (84)69.7 (69)
  • UConn is 13-1 in non-conference college basketball games.
  • Illinois is 12-2 in non-conference college basketball games this season. 
  • UConn is 25-12 against the spread this year. 
  • The OVER is 20-6 in Illinois’ last 26 games.
  • UConn has won their last 12 postseason games, 11 by double digits. 
  • Illinois is seeking their first Final Four since 2005.

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UConn vs Illinois Prediction | March Madness Elite 8 Picks

Rarely do we see a clash between the nation’s two most efficient offenses, especially during the NCAA Tournament. This matchup is especially unique because it features two units that generate shots and points in completely different ways. Starting with UConn, the Huskies rely heavily on sets drawn up by Dan Hurley that directly result in open shots. They run an abundance of flare screens, down screens, and even baseline out of bounds sets that result in open looks for their shooters. If those break down or are covered, they have a pick-and-roll maestro in Tristen Newton and a 7-2 center in Donovan Clingan who can score on the block. Defending the Huskies for 40 minutes is a grueling task because of how disciplined you need to be in order to defend their non-stop actions.

When Illinois has the ball, you’ll see very few set plays or scripted actions. Instead, the Illini use their size advantages hunt mismatches and get the opposition in rotations. Illinois starts Marcus Domask at point guard, a 6-6 wing who excels in scoring and passing out of the post. Most teams have to send double teams when he has the ball because their guards cannot match up physically, and Domask takes advantage by finding the open man, which typically leads to an open shot one or two passes away. What makes the Illini so tough to stop is as tough as Domask is to deal with in the half-court, he’s not even their best player. All-American Terrence Shannon is averaging 31.2 points in their six postseason games and is maybe the most athletic player in the sport. Shannon and Domask generate most of the offense, but Illinois’ role players provide a nice complement to their stars and can make teams pay for over-helping.

If this were a best-of-seven series, UConn would ultimately win because they have the far superior defense. However, it is not; Illinois is explosive enough to win any individual game. They take and make a lot of threes and are athletic enough to put together a good 40 minutes of defense, despite having struggled on that end for much of the year. I would not be shocked if Illinois won this game, however I just cannot pick against UConn at this point. They are going on year two of a historic March run and look like a machine on both ends. For our Elite 8 UConn vs Illinois prediction, we are picking the UConn Huskies to win and move on in the NCAA Tournament.

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NCAA Tournament Elite 8 Schedule

Saturday, March 30th

UConn vs Illinois (6:09 PM EST)

Alabama vs Clemson (8:49 PM)

Sunday, March 31st

Houston/Duke vs Marquette/NC State (Time TBD)

Purdue/Gonzaga vs Tennessee/Creighton (Time TBD)

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