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Illinois announces 2015-16 non-conference basketball schedule

Illini to host Notre Dame in first game back at State Farm Center on Dec. 2 in Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois will host Notre Dame in the first game at the renovated State Farm Center in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Dec. 2, the athletic department announced Wednesday afternoon.

The Fighting Irish are coming off an NCAA Elite Eight appearance and will play in Champaign for the first time since 1963. The game will be televised by ESPN.

The game begins a three-game homestand for the Illini, followed by Western Carolina on Dec. 5 and Yale on Dec. 9. Illinois will then travel to Chicago for a match up against UIC on Dec. 12 at the United Center. Illinois will host South Dakota on Dec. 19.

The Illini will complete its non-conference schedule when they try to go for a third straight win against Missouri in the 35th edition of the Bud Light Braggin' Rights on Dec. 23 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

In total, Illinois will play at least five games against 2015 NCAA Tournament teams. Another five will be played at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield, Ill. because of State Farm Center renovations.

2015-16 Illinois Non-Conference Schedule:

  • Nov. 8 -- Illinois-Springfield (Exh.)
  • Nov. 13 -- North Florida
  • Nov. 15 -- North Dakota State
  • Nov. 18 -- at Providence
  • Nov. 21 -- Chattanooga
  • Nov. 23 -- Chicago State
  • Nov. 27 -- UAB (Niceville, Fla.)
  • Nov. 28 -- Iowa State/Virginia Tech (Niceville, Fla.)
  • Dec. 2 -- Notre Dame
  • Dec. 5 -- Western Carolina
  • Dec. 9 -- Yale
  • Dec. 12 -- UIC (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Dec. 19 -- South Dakota
  • Dec. 23 -- Missouri (St. Louis, Mo.)

The Illini will tip off non-conference play with an exhibition game against Illinois-Springfield on Nov. 8 before beginning the regular-season against North Florida on Nov. 13 and North Dakota State on Nov. 15. Two teams that made it to the national tournament last spring.

Illinois will then play in the inaugural Gavitt Tipoff Games, featuring eight games between Big Ten and Big East conference teams from Nov. 17-20. The Illini travel to Providence on Nov. 18.

The Illini will wrap up their stay in Springfield with games against Chattanooga on Nov. 21 and Chicago State on Nov. 23. Next up, Illinois will travel to Niceville, Fla. for its final two games of Emerald Coast Classic, against UAB on Nov. 27 and either Iowa State or Virginia Tech on Nov. 28.

"We have a challenging non-conference schedule ahead of us this year," Illinois head coach John Groce said in a release. "A number of our opponents are coming off NCAA Tournament seasons and are teams that we fell will be contenders in their respective leagues. So we will be tested against great competition, along with an unusual amount of November travel due to the renovations of our arena. The experiences gained during non-conference play should have us prepared for an extremely competitive Big Ten race."