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The exact 20-game Big Ten schedule has yet to be determined, but at least conference teams know which opponents will eventually fill those spots on the calendar. Beat author Scott Richey takes a look at Illinois’ 20 league games released Thursday:
Illinois’ 2022-23 Big Ten opponents
home and away –
- Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwest, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin
Only at home –
- Michigan, Michigan State, Rutgers
just gone —
The Good Let’s start at the top. No trip to Rutgers means no playing in the “Trapeze of Terror.” It hasn’t been a comfortable place for many of the Big Ten in recent seasons, and Illinois is no exception. Similarly good news is a game each against likely top-flight teams Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue. Two with Indiana might be harder with the Hoosiers, the Big Ten’s title favorites, right now, but if it renews the rivalry, it’s worth it.
Illinois has forged rivalries with Iowa and Michigan in recent seasons. One based mostly on mutual dislike. That the Hawkeyes and Wolverines only appear once on the schedule is a disappointment. Worse, the Iowa game slated for Iowa City, Iowa means the FrankCon meter poster will likely be put into storage for the season. At least the Michigan game is at the State Farm Center. Gives Illinois fans a chance to personally boo the Wolverines’ Hunter Dickinson.
The non-Big Ten
Really, all that’s left to fill out Illinois’ 2022-23 schedule is a handful of home games against mostly lower-ranked sides. The Illini are already in the Roman Main Event in Las Vegas, where they will face off against Baylor, UCLA and Virginia. Then there’s the Jimmy V Classic vs. Texas at Madison Square Garden, the Big Ten/ACC Challenge (opponent to be determined) and Braggin’ Rights in St. Louis, where the reloaded Illini faces rebuilding Missouri.
“To get where we’re going in February and March and to be prepared for Big Ten games – we’re here to win Big Ten championships – let’s play the people. I think our program is at a point where we will never build again. If someone uses that word, I won’t talk to you anymore. We don’t rebuild. We reload. … It’s the next man and the next group. I think you’re getting better because you’re playing good people.” – Illinois coach Brad Underwood
Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball for The News-Gazette. His email address is email@example.com and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).