Beyond its annual Braggin' Rights meeting with Missouri on Dec. 22 and an ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup with North Carolina on Nov. 30, Illinois will play Gonzaga in Seattle on Dec. 4, and face Texas, plus Pitt or Maryland, in New York City on Nov. 18 and 19.
``With an experienced team that we feel can be competitive nationally,'' Weber said, ``we were aggressive in our non-conference scheduling with the goal in mind to be prepared heading into conference play. The Big Ten promises to be as strong as it has been in many years, so there is no question we will need to compete at a high level each and every night out.''
Illinois--which will be led by seniors Demetri McCamey, Mike Tisdale, Mike Davis and Bill Cole--should have the best depth it has had under Weber. A trio of sophomores (D.J. Richardson, Brandon Paul and Tyler Griffey) who also saw significant playing time return, and a freshman group led by McDonald's All-American Jereme Richmond, Meyers Leonard and redshirt Joseph Bertrand also should make a serious contribution.
The Illini, who missed the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years, will need to be improved to compete in a Big Ten in which Michigan State, Purdue and Ohio State again are expected to set the bar high.
The schedule. . .
Monday Nov. 8 UC Irvine % Assembly Hall 7 pm ESPN3.com
Wednesday Nov. 10 Toledo % Assembly Hall 7 pm ESPN3.com
Saturday Nov. 13 Southern Illinois Assembly Hall 7 pm BTN
Thursday Nov. 18 vs. Texas % New York, N.Y. (Madison Square Garden) 8 pm ESPN2
Friday Nov. 19 vs. Pittsburgh/Maryland % New York, N.Y. (Madison Square Garden) 6 pm/4 pm ESPN2
Tuesday Nov. 23 Yale Assembly Hall 8:45 pm ESPNU
Saturday Nov. 27 at Western Michigan Kalamazoo, Mich. 1 pm
Tuesday Nov. 30 North Carolina # Assembly Hall 8:30 pm ESPN
Saturday Dec. 4 vs. Gonzaga @ Seattle, Wash. (Key Arena) 4 pm ESPN
Wednesday Dec. 8 Oakland Assembly Hall 7 pm BigTenNetwork.com
Sunday Dec. 12 Northern Colorado Assembly Hall 5 pm BTN
Saturday Dec. 18 vs. UIC Chicago, Ill. (United Center) 1 pm BTN
Wednesday Dec. 22 vs. Missouri * St. Louis, Mo. (Scottrade Center) 8 pm ESPN2
Wednesday Dec. 29 at Iowa Iowa City, Iowa 8 pm BTN
Sunday Jan. 2 Wisconsin Assembly Hall 5 pm BTN
Thursday Jan. 6 Northwestern Assembly Hall 8 pm ESPN2
Tuesday Jan. 11 at Penn State University Park, Pa. 8 pm BTN
Saturday Jan. 15 at Wisconsin Madison, Wis. 2 pm BTN
Tuesday Jan. 18 Michigan State Assembly Hall 6 pm ESPN
Saturday Jan. 22 Ohio State Assembly Hall 11 am CBS
Thursday Jan. 27 at Indiana Bloomington, Ind. 8 pm BTN
Tuesday Feb. 1 Penn State Assembly Hall 8 pm BTN
Saturday Feb. 5 at Northwestern Evanston, Ill. Noon CBS
Thursday Feb. 10 at Minnesota Minneapolis, Minn. 8 pm ESPN/ESPN2
Sunday Feb. 13 Purdue Assembly Hall Noon CBS
Wednesday Feb. 16 Michigan Assembly Hall 7:30 pm BTN
Saturday Feb. 19 at Michigan State ^ East Lansing, Mich. 8 pm ESPN
Tuesday Feb. 22 at Ohio State Columbus, Ohio 6 pm ESPN
Sat./Sun. Feb. 26/27 Iowa Assembly Hall TBA TBA
Tuesday March 1 at Purdue West Lafayette, Ind. 6 pm ESPN
Sat./Sun. March 5/6 Indiana Assembly Hall TBA TBA
Thu.-Sun. March 10-13 Big Ten Tournament Indianapolis, Ind. (Conseco Fieldhouse) TBA TBA
Tue.-Wed. March 15-16 NCAA First Round TBA TBA TruTV
Thu.-Sun. March 17-20 NCAA Second & Third Rounds TBA TBA CBS
Thu.-Sun. March 24-27 NCAA Regionals TBA TBA CBS
Sat. & Mon. April 2 & 4 NCAA Final Four Houston, Texas (Reliant Stadium) TBA CBS
% = 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer
# = ACC/Big Ten Challenge
@= Comcast Battle in Seattle
* = Busch Braggin' Rights
^ = ESPN College GameDay Driven by State Farm and Saturday Primetime Presented by DIRECTV
All times listed are Central.
All dates and times are subject to change.