College hoops writer Paul Klee's take on the Illini's nonconference schedule, released Wednesday:
If John Groce had the ability to overhaul and redo the Illini's 2012-13 schedule, he would. Next season's nonconference schedule isn't a good example of how the first-year coach prefers to schedule. He wants home games. Lots of home games. As many home games as he can have without being legally obligated to sign a lease-to-own agreement with the Assembly Hall. And this nonconference schedule has only seven home games, a number that stunned the new coaching staff when it arrived at Illinois. But this has been the Illini's M.O. in recent years, and two opportunities are tied up with the Missouri and ACC/Big Ten Challenge games. Illinois had more than eight nonconference home games only once over the final eight seasons of Bruce Weber's tenure. Once Groce has some maneuverability with the schedule, expect Illinois to follow the Ohio State model of scheduling. The Buckeyes annually load up on home games and have hosted at least nine nonconference opponents in each of the past four seasons. Feel free to debate which scheduling approach is better.