An Extremely Early Look At Next Season's Basketball Schedule

USA TODAY Sports

Hey, basketball season is only seven months away!

It's April 1 which means a few things. It means that baseball is starting, and for a big baseball fan like me, that's a good thing. It also means spring is here and the weather should be improving. I say should be because it is currently 36 degrees here in Chicago.

It also means that the current basketball season is still going on and the Illini won't play another basketball game for another seven months, but just because it's seven months away doesn't mean it's too early to look at next year's schedule, right?

Marcus Jackson wrote an early look at next season, and while we've already gone over most of the stuff he wrote about, he did include a few schedule tidbits. Now, we don't know what the Illini's actual schedule will be, but here's what we do know courtesy of Marcus.

- Illinois will play a game at UNLV, a return date for the December 2011 game against the Rebels at the United Center.
- Illinois will play Auburn in Birmingham, Ala., a return date for the December 2012 game against the Tigers at the United Center.
- Illinois will play Missouri in the annual Braggin' Rights game at St. Louis' Scottrade Center.
- Illinois will play an ACC/Big Ten Challenge game, likely on the road after hosting Georgia Tech this past season.
- Illinois will play its annual game at the United Center, likely against UIC as the Illini are required to play the Flames there once every three years as part of an agreement.
- Illinois will play an 18-game Big Ten schedule, playing all but four teams twice. Michigan State, Indiana, Iowa and Penn State, which have all been one-play opponents for the Illini the last two seasons, will be on the schedule twice.

Really psyched about having to play non-conference road dates at UNLV and Auburn. Why would we want to play home non-conference games when we can play a talented UNLV team or play in front of 15 people at Auburn?

Thanks, Bruce Weber.

Also, the United Center game against UIC should be a win -- should -- but I'd prefer a much bigger name. And while I'm happy we get to play Penn State twice, i was more than all right with only playing Michigan State and Indiana once. I don't see any reason why that needs to change.

Follow The Champaign Room on Twitter at @Champaign_Room. You can follow Tom Fornelli on Twitter at @TomFornelli.

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