Fighting Illini to Host Jayhawks in Charity Exhibition Supporting Maui Wildfire Relief Efforts

IlliniGuys Staff

August 19, 2023

CHAMPAIGN, Ill.– In a gesture of solidarity and support, the Illinois and Kansas men's basketball teams will play a charity exhibition game on Oct. 29 at 5 p.m. at State Farm Center, broadcasted by BTN. The game aims to raise funds for the Hawai'i Community Foundation Maui Strong Fund, which assists the victims of the devastating Maui wildfires.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and destruction caused by the fires that have swept through Lahaina," Illinois Head Coach Brad Underwood said. "The Maui Invitational is a cherished tradition in college basketball, and we are thinking of everyone on the island of Maui who have suffered from this calamity. Bill and I agreed right away that we wanted to do something to help, and turning our closed scrimmage into a charity exhibition is a way we can use our sport to make a difference.

"The game will also be a special occasion for Bill's return to Champaign, which should attract more attention and donations for the cause."

"The Maui Invitational and the city of Lahaina have been very important to college basketball for many years, and our hearts go out to that entire community as they recover from such a tragic event," Kansas Head Coach Bill Self said. "Brad and I discussed how we could use our private scrimmage as an opportunity to raise money and awareness for the people affected by the recent catastrophic fires in Maui. We both felt this would be a great way for our programs to show our compassion and gratitude.

"I have participated in this event five times before, and the people of Maui have always made it a memorable experience. This is a small way we can help a community that has been so good to so many for so long."

Illinois men's basketball team is led by Brad Underwood, who has been the head coach for six seasons. Underwood has transformed the Illini into a powerhouse in the Big Ten, leading them to three consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, four consecutive 20-win seasons, and four consecutive top-five finishes in the conference. The Illini won the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles in 2021 and repeated as regular season champions in 2022. Underwood has the most Big Ten wins (55) of any Illinois coach in a four-year span. The Illini have a veteran squad this season, with three returning starters and seven returning letterwinners from last year's team that went 20-13, finished fifth in the Big Ten, and made the NCAA Tournament. The Illini also added seven newcomers, including three graduate transfers and two freshmen.

Kansas men's basketball team is coached by Bill Self, who is entering his 21st season at KU. Self is a Hall of Fame coach who has led the Jayhawks to two national championships, four Final Fours, 17 Big 12 regular season titles, and nine Big 12 tournament titles. Self came to Kansas from Illinois, where he coached for three seasons from 2000 to 2003. He won two Big Ten regular season titles and one Big Ten tournament title with the Illini, and took them to the Elite Eight in 2001.

Self has a loaded roster this season, with three returning starters and eight returning letterwinners from last year's team that won 28 games, captured the Big 12 regular season title, and made the NCAA Tournament.

This game is not part of the Illinois season ticket package. However, current UI premium and season ticket holders will be provided an opportunity to purchase tickets for this game prior to a potential public on-sale date.

Due to the unique aspect of this charity partnership, KU will receive a larger allotment of tickets than what is traditionally provided to a visiting team. Therefore, UI premium and season ticket holders will not be guaranteed their regular seat for this game.

UI student season ticket holders will have this game included in their season ticket package.

All ticket sales information, and further details regarding the game, will be announced soon.

 

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