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Illinois Basketball to participate in 2020 Emerald Coast Classic

The Fighting Illini will be enjoying some Florida sunshine next Thanksgiving.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

We’re currently in the throes of the college basketball season, and we have lots to be excited about. However, the No. 24 Illinois Fighting Illini have already received good news regarding next season.

It was announced today that Illinois will be part of the 2020 Emerald Coast Classic, along with the Florida Gators, Oregon Ducks, and Iowa State Cyclones.

The possible matchups in this tournament are tantalizing — Iowa State’s George Conditt IV and Zion Griffin are Chicago natives and former Illini targets, while Oregon forward and Normal West product Francis Okoro famously left Illinois at the altar last offseason. There is also the potential for Kofi Cockburn to go head-to-head with Florida’s 6-foot-11, 300-pounder Jason Jitoboh.

Alabama A&M, McNeese State, Louisiana-Monroe & North Florida round out the field. Obviously, we don’t know the bracket yet. But participating in this tournament almost assures that we won’t see another McKendree or Lindenwood or Augustana on the non-conference schedule next year (fingers crossed).

The Emerald Coast Classic takes place Nov. 27-29 on the campus of Northwest Florida State College — alma mater of current Illini Andres Feliz.