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Illinois Basketball: 2015-16 Big Ten Conference schedule announced

Illini open conference play against Michigan on Dec. 30 at State Farm Center.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois Fighting Ilini will open Big Ten conference play against Michigan on Dec. 30 at the State Farm Center.

Illinois has gone 24-30 in Big Ten action under three seasons with head coach John Groce at the helm, including a 9-9 mark last season that ended with a Big Ten tournament loss to Michigan in the opening round. The Illini would miss the national tournament and fall to Alabama in the NIT.

After starting with a pair of road games last season, Illinois opens at home. The last three times they've opened their conference slate at home, they've come out on top.

The Ilini will play 18 Big Ten games, including 9 games at the State Farm Center. Illinois will play Purdue (Jan. 10), Nebraska (Jan. 16), Ohio State (Jan. 28), Wisconsin (Jan. 31), Iowa (Feb. 7), Rutgers (Feb. 16), Indiana (Feb. 26) and Minnesota (Feb. 28) at home.

The Illini travel to Columbus to tip off against Ohio State (Jan. 3), followed by Michigan State (Jan. 7), Indiana (Jan. 19), Minnesota (Jan. 23), Rutgers (Feb. 3), Northwestern (Feb. 13), Wisconsin (Feb. 21), Maryland (March 3) and Penn State (March 6).

Non-conference schedule

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.

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 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.

2015-16 Schedule

Date Opponent Location
11/8/15 Illinois-Springfield (Exhibition) Springfield, Ill.
11/13/15 North Florida Springfield, Ill.
11/15/15 North Dakota State Springfield, Ill.
11/18/15 Providence (Gavitt Tipoff Games) Providence, RI.
11/21/15 Chattanooga (Emerald Coast Classic) Springfield, Ill.
11/23/15 Chicago State (Emerald Coast Classic) Springfield, Ill.
11/27/15 UAB (Emerald Coast Classic) Niceville, Fla.
11/28/15 Iowa State/Virginia Tech (Emerald Coast Classic) Niceville, Fla.
12/2/15 Notre Dame (Big Ten/ACC Challenge Champaign, Ill.
12/5/15 Western Carolina Champaign, Ill.
12/9/15 Yale Champaign, Ill.
12/12/15 UIC Chicago, Ill.
12/19/15 South Dakota Champaign, Ill.
12/23/15 Missouri (Braggin' Rights Game) St. Louis, Mo.
12/30/15 Michigan Champaign, Ill.
1/3/16 Ohio State Columbus, Ohio
1/7/16 Michigan State East Lansing, Mich.
1/10/16 Purdue Champaign, Ill.
1/16/16 Nebraska Champaign, Ill.
1/19/16 Indiana Bloomington, Ind.
1/23/16 Minnesota Minneapolis, Minn.
1/26/16 Ohio State Champaign, Ill.
1/31/16 Wisconsin Champaign, Ill.
2/3/16 Rutgers New Brunswick, N.J.
2/7/16 Iowa Champaign, Ill.
2/13/16 Northwestern Evanston, Ill.
2/16/16 Rutgers Champaign, Ill.
2/21/16 Wisconsin Madison, Wisc.
2/25/16 Indiana Champaign, Ill.
2/28/16 Minnesota Champaign, Ill.
3/3/16 Maryland College Park, Md.
3/6/15 Penn State University Park, Pa.