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Illinois to play Providence in 2015 Gavitt Tipoff Games

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Illinois will travel to Rhode Island for the first Big Ten vs. Big East Challenge.

Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

According to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, the Illinois Fighting Illini will travel to Rhode Island to face the Providence Friars for their first-ever Gavitt Tipoff Games matchup (Big Ten/Big East Challenge). This is a pretty interesting choice as most thought the Illini would be playing either DePaul or Marquette this Fall.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p>Providence will host Illinois as part of the first ever Big East-Big Ten Challenge, source told <a href="https://twitter.com/CBSSports">@CBSSports</a>.  Date and time is TBD. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/pcbb?src=hash">#pcbb</a></p>&mdash; Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) <a href="https://twitter.com/JonRothstein/status/590166005629988866">April 20, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Providence was a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but lost their first round matchup to No. 11 seed Dayton. Overall, the Friars finished the 2014-15 season at 22-12 and logged notable wins over Notre Dame, Butler, Georgetown (x2), and Xavier; they ended the year ranked No. 30 on KenPom.

It hasn't been finalized yet, but the Friars are expected to lose sophomore Kris Dunn to the NBA Draft; the standout guard averaged 15.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game this season.

In addition to Illinois' matchup, Nebraska vs. Villanova, St. John's vs. Rutgers, and Indiana vs. Creighton have also been announced.

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