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For those that find pleasure or pain - whichever your preference - in following former Illinois coaches, grab a Big 12 basketball schedule.
The addition of Lon Kruger (Oklahoma) and Billy Gillispie (Texas Tech) brings the magic number to three. Bill Self will enter his ninth season at Kansas.
And due to the Big 12's new round-robin scheduling format, the former Illini will get at least two cracks at each other during the conference season.
With the subtraction of Colorado and Nebraska, the Big 12 now will play an 18-game conference schedule. It is a move from the 16-game schedule and will provide a true regular-season champion.
Further, since the Buffs and Huskers traditionally fielded two of the weaker teams in the Big 12, the league just got that much tougher.
"We'll have records similar to the Big East because we're going to beat up on each other more," Self said today on a teleconference with media.
An Illinois assistant from 2000-02, Gillispie was hired at Texas Tech in March. He was in the stands at the BOK Center in Tulsa when Illinois played in the NCAA tournament.
"I know this is the toughest league in the country because of the round-robin deal," Gillispie said.
The head coach at Illinois from 1996-2000, Kruger left UNLV for Oklahoma in April.
"For the most part over the years we've coached against most (of the coaches in the Big 12), whether they were at a different school or we were at a different school," Kruger said. "We're very familiar with all the coaches in the league."
Self replaced Kruger at Illinois in 2000.
"Of all the coaches that I've followed, I think that Lon, without question, was the easiest one to follow," Self said, adding, "I was able to take over a healthy program. That was one that I thought was the smoothest transition just because of how he is as a man."