The Fighting Illini Announce Men's Basketball Non-Conference Schedule

IlliniGuys Staff

August 16, 2023

The non-conference schedule for Illinois was revealed on Wednesday, with six challenging games against teams that made the NCAA Tournament last season. The Illini will play 19 home games at State Farm Center this season, including 10 Big Ten games, eight non-conference games, and one exhibition game.

The exhibition game will be against Ottawa (Kan.) on Friday, Oct. 20, the day before the Homecoming football game against Wisconsin.

Illinois will start the 2023-24 season with a seven-game homestand in November. The first game will be against Eastern Illinois on Nov. 6, the same opponent as last season's opener. Oakland will come to Champaign on Nov. 10, the night before the Dad's Day football game against Indiana.

Things get tougher as Illinois will face 2023 Big East champion and Sweet 16 team Marquette on Nov. 14 in the Gavitt Tipoff Games.

Illinois will welcome back former Illini star Roger Powell Jr. on Nov. 17, as he leads Valparaiso as the new head coach. Illinois will then play Southern on a short turnaround Nov. 19.

Illinois head coach Brad Underwood will meet his former team Western Illinois on Nov. 24, where he was an assistant for 10 years from 1994-2003. That game will be the night before the last home football game against Northwestern. Illinois will end November by hosting Patriot League champion Colgate on Nov. 27. The Colgate game is the first of five consecutive games against NCAA Tournament teams to finish the non-conference schedule.

Next up is a trip to the Bigg Apple as the Illini will participate in the Jimmy V Classic for the second year in a row and third time in four years on Dec. 5, playing against 2023 Final Four team Florida Atlantic on ESPN.

The Illini will face a tough opponent in Tennessee, who reached the Sweet 16 last season, at Thompson-Boling Arena on Dec. 9.

The Illini will renew their rivalry with Missouri in the McBride Homes Braggin' Rights game on Dec. 22 at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis. The Tigers also made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year, as did Fairleigh Dickinson, who pulled off a stunning upset over No. 1 seed Purdue. The Knights will visit State Farm Center on Dec. 29 for Illinois' final non-conference game.

Illinois' Big Ten home schedule features 10 teams: Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, and Rutgers. The complete conference schedule will be announced later.

Illinois has been the most successful team in the Big Ten in the last four years, with a 55-25 record under Head Coach Brad Underwood. The Illini have made three consecutive NCAA Tournaments, won four straight 20-win regular seasons, and finished in the top five of the Big Ten four times, including winning the regular season and tournament titles in 2021 and 2022. The 55 Big Ten wins are a school record for a four-year span.

State Farm Center will be buzzing again this season as Illinois boasts one of the most experienced and talented rosters in the country, led by first-team All-Big Ten guard Terrence Shannon Jr. and versatile power forward Coleman Hawkins, who both decided to come back to Champaign after testing the NBA Draft waters.

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