Illinois is close to firming up a four-year contract that will make Gonzaga the opponent for its annual United Center game in December, 2009. The agreement calls for the two teams to meet in Seattle in December, 2010 and play in Champaign and at the Zags' Spokane home in the final two years of the deal. The Illini don't have an opponent lined up yet for their 2010 game at the United Center. It's possible that UIC, which is owed another Chicago game by the Illini at some point, could be in that mix.
Illinois is scheduled to play in Las Vegas for its usual Thanksgiving tournament venture next year. Bradley is also in that field. For the first time in a while, the basketball team will have to share Thanksgiving-week attention with the football team. Illinois is completing a deal that will have Ron Zook's crew finishing its season with a game at Cincinnati on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The Illini are expected to wrap up their home football slate against Fresno State, giving them two challenging nonconference games at the end of their season.