Wake Forest Basketball vs. Illinois Fighting Illini preview, live stream, odds

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Wake Forest Basketball meets the Illinois Fighting Illini in this year’s edition of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Can the Demon Deacons do their part for the ACC cause?

Wake Forest Basketball has had a tumultuous start to the season. The Demon Deacons started the season 0-3 against inferior opponents. Illinois will be their first Power 5 test.

Wake Forest (2-4) is still struggling to find an identity without first-round pick John Collins. They have not played a single game that they wouldn’t have been favored in before the season. The only game they were actual underdogs in was a 78-73 loss to Houston as two-point dogs. Their two wins are a blowout of Quinnipiac and a seven-point win against Wes Miller-coached UNC-Greensboro in their last game. Junior guard Keyshawn Woods has led the Demon Deacons with 17 points per game.

Illinois (6-0) has played a schedule equal to Wake Forest in its cupcake-content, but the Fighting Illini have taken care of business. They are coming off a win over another North Carolina team, NC Central, 86-73. Junior forwards Leron Black and Michael Finke lead the Illini with 14.8 and 14.7 points per game. Five players in all are averaging double figures.

The ACC began Day 2 of the 2017 ACC-Big Ten Challenge with a 2-0 advantage. Syracuse beat former ACC member, Maryland, 72-70, and No. 18 Virginia smothered Wisconsin to win 49-37. The ACC is looking to win it’s second straight challenge after not winning outright since 2008.

Here’s how you can watch Tuesday’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Illinois Fighting Illini game:

Date: Tuesday, Nov. 28
Time: 9:00 p.m. ET
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Venue: Lawrence Joel Coliseum
Live Stream: WatchESPN

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Wake Forest is surprisingly favored by 2.5 points. I would have never thought they would be favored based on how the two teams have performed at this point in the season. This is one of those spots where you think Vegas must know something we don’t. The other possibility is that Vegas is still counting on Wake to figure it out and they still haven’t. Before the season, this was a no-brainer. Now, it’s a reluctant bet at best.

Prediction: Wake Forest 82, Illinois 79