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Tennessee vs. Illinois prediction, pick, spread, basketball game odds, live stream, watch online, TV channel

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No. 17 Tennessee welcomes No. 20 Illinois to Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday in a marquee Top 25-showdown on CBS. Illinois comes into this matchup riding a five-game winning streak, while Tennessee has lost three of its last four that included a brutal stretch against Purdue, Kansas and North Carolina.

Illinois is coming off its biggest win of the season in the Jimmy V Classic against No. 11 FAU. The 98-89 win over the Owls earlier this week was in large part due to big performances from Marcus Domask and Terrence Shannon Jr., who each scored a career-high 33 points in the upset.

As for Tennessee, it bounced back from its three-game skid with a 87-66 win over George Mason. The biggest storyline of the season for the Vols’ has been the breakout performance from guard Dalton Knecht. The Northern Colorado transfer is averaging a team-leading 19 points per game.

Knecht scored 22 of his career-high 37 points in the second half during the loss to North Carolina last week. Knecht went down late with an apparent ankle injury, but returned to score 10 points in only 25 minutes against George Mason days later.

How to watch Tennessee vs. Illinois live

Date: Saturday, Dec. 9 | Time: Noon ET
Location: Thompson-Boling Arena — Knoxville, Tennessee
TV: CBS | Live stream: CBSSports.comCBS Sports App (Free)  

Tennessee vs. Illinois prediction, picks

You know that old saying that goes “when in doubt, pick the home team?” That applies here. Tennessee announced it will be playing in front of a sold out crowd of over 21,000 people this weekend, which should provide the Vols’ with a substantial home-court advantage against one of the hottest teams in the country. Tennessee has yet to beat a Top 25 opponent this season in three tries, but Saturday will prove the fourth time is the charm. While Knecht remains the X-Factor as the best overall scorer for Tennessee, Santiago Vescovi seems due for a breakout performance. Containing Domask and Shannon should also help Tennessee’s cause. Prediction: Tennessee -5

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