First thing’s first, the Illini will only play Penn State, Indiana, Iowa and Michigan State once. Indiana and Penn State will come to the Assembly Hall, while Illinois will only have road games against Iowa and MSU. In a way, it evens out because that’s two tough teams and two easier teams (golly, guess which one is which), instead of only facing four cupcake teams once or the opposite.
It’s a shame to only have Michigan State on the road, because we’ve had some success at home against them the past couple of years, and with Indiana as a preseason No. 1 in some circles, it’ll be a coup to beat them at home or on the road. Penn State has also been challenging on the road for whatever reason, so having them only at home is probably for the best.
However, with John Groce now at the helm and no Meyers Leonard, this is going to be a completely different team than we have seen, so everything is really up in the air.
Illinois will star the season at Purdue on Jan. 2, and a win here would be doubtful but fantastic, because Brandon Paul and DJ Richardson are going into their senior seasons without even one win against the Boilermakers. Ohio State at home and then Minnesota at home will help the team ease into the conference schedule, before heading into Madison on Jan. 12.
Last year, Coach Bruce Weber got the guys off to a great start, but imploded in the end winning just two out of the last 14 games, including that loss to Iowa in the B1G Tournament. The end of the season will be tricky again with a game at Michigan, home against Nebraska, on the road against Iowa for the first meeting of the season and then closing the season on the road for Ohio State’s senior day. Let’s hope Groce is better at finishing out seasons than Weber.
So there you have it. Take a brief break from your football excitement for a moment and take a look of what’s to come on the basketball court this year:
Monday Oct. 22 Orange & Blue Scrimmage 7 p.m.
Saturday Oct. 27 Lewis (Exh.)
Sunday Nov. 4 West Chester (Exh.)
Friday Nov. 9 Colgate
Monday Nov. 12 St. Francis (N.Y.)
Friday Nov. 16 at Hawaii Honolulu, Hawaii
Monday Nov. 19 vs. USC in Lahaina, Hawaii 11 p.m. ESPN2
Tuesday Nov. 20 vs. Texas/Chaminade Lahaina, Hawaii 9:30 p.m./4 p.m. ESPN2
Wednesday Nov. 21 vs. ?? Lahaina, Hawaii
Sunday Nov. 25 Gardner Webb
Wednesday Nov. 28 Georgia Tech 8 p.m. ESPN2
Tuesday Dec. 4 Western Carolina
Saturday Dec. 8 at Gonzaga Spokane, Wash.
Tuesday Dec. 11 Norfolk State
Sunday Dec. 16 Eastern Kentucky
Saturday Dec. 22 vs. Missouri St. Louis (Scottrade Center)
Saturday Dec. 29 vs. Auburn Chicago (United Center)
Wednesday Jan. 2 at Purdue
Saturday Jan. 5 Ohio State
Wednesday Jan. 9 Minnesota
Saturday Jan. 12 at Wiscy
Thursday Jan. 17 Northwestern
Tuesday Jan. 22 at Nebraska
Sunday Jan. 27 Michigan
Thursday Jan. 31 at Michigan State
Sunday Feb. 3 Wisconsin
Thursday Feb. 7 Indiana
Sunday Feb. 10 at Minnesota
Wednesday Feb. 13 Purdue
Sunday Feb. 17 at Northwestern
Thursday Feb. 21 Penn State
Sunday Feb. 24 at Michigan
Saturday March 2 Nebraska
Tuesday March 5 at Iowa
Sunday March 10 at Ohio State
Thu.-Sun. March 14-17 Big Ten Tournament Chicago, Ill. (United Center)
Tue.-Wed. March 19-20 NCAA First Round Dayton, Ohio
Thu.-Sun. March 21-24 NCAA Second & Third Rounds TBA
Thu.-Sun. March 28-31 NCAA Regionals TBA
Sat. & Mon. April 6 & 8 NCAA Final Four Atlanta, Ga. (Georgia Dome)