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REPORT: Illinois playing Cinderella story FAU in non-conference play

Another high-profile matchup for the Illini.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four National Semifinals-Florida Atlantic vs San Diego State Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, Florida Atlantic was seconds away from becoming one of the great underdog stories of all time, playing in the national championship against UCONN.

Next season, they’ll play the Fighting Illini.

According to a report from our good friend Jon Rothstein, Illinois and FAU will square off in this year’s Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Rothstein says defending national champ UCONN will play the 2022 runner-up North Carolina in the other game.

You may remember Illinois’ appearance last year in the Jimmy V Classic, an overtime thriller against No. 2 Texas.

Last year, the Owls ended up going 35-4. Dusty May returns most of his production from that squad, but who knows if they’ll be THAT good again??

Anywho, it’s good to see Illinois get to play in all these high-profile non-conference events. Whatever you think of Brad Underwood, the Illini are relevant, and there’s no denying that.