The Illini are going to be playing some big names at some big venues this season.
Illinois released its non-conference basketball schedule Friday morning, and trips to Chicago, New York, Miami, Las Vegas and St. Louis against some top-notch opponents highlight the fall and winter's upcoming games.
As was already known, the Illini will participate in the Las Vegas Invitational, with games against Indiana State and either Baylor or Memphis set for that event on Thanksgiving and the following day.
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On Dec. 2, the Illini will be in Miami to take on the Hurricanes — the same team that ousted them from the 2013 NCAA tournament — as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. A week later, it's Illinois and Villanova at Madison Square Garden as part of the Jimmy V Classic. Four days after that, the Illini will be at the United Center to take on Oregon. And six days after that game, it's the annual Braggin' Rights game against Missouri at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
So if you want to see the Illini play on the road and you're sick of Bloomington and Iowa City, this schedule has plenty of fun destinations for you.
It also features some strong competition. Four of the Illini's 2014-15 non-conference opponents were NCAA tournament teams a year ago: American, Oregon, Villanova and Baylor/Memphis. Like Illinois, two others were NIT teams: Indiana State and Missouri.
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Here's the Illini's full non-conference schedule for the 2014-15 season (all games at State Farm Center in Champaign unless otherwise indicated):
— Friday, Nov. 7 vs. Quincy (exhibition)
— Friday, Nov. 14 vs. Georgia Southern
— Sunday, Nov. 16 vs. Coppin State
— Friday, Nov. 21 vs. Austin Peay
— Monday, Nov. 24 vs. Brown
— Thursday, Nov. 27 vs. Indiana State (in Las Vegas)
— Friday, Nov. 28 vs. Baylor/Memphis (in Las Vegas)
— Tuesday, Dec. 2 at Miami (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
— Saturday, Dec. 6 vs. American
— Tuesday, Dec. 9 vs. Villanova (at Madison Square Garden)
— Saturday, Dec. 13 vs. Oregon (at the United Center)
— Wednesday, Dec. 17 vs. Hampton
— Saturday, Dec. 20 vs. Missouri (at Scottrade Center)
— Saturday, Dec. 27 vs. Kennesaw State