Illini to play at Madison Square Garden
The 2014-15 Illini will play in one of basketball’s most revered venues this season as John Groce’s club will participate in this year’s Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in a matchup against Villanova.
The game will be played at 6 p.m. on Dec. 9. on ESPN. Indiana and Louisville will play in the other Jimmy V Classic matchup at 8 p.m.
Maryland was initially scheduled to play Villanova, but had to pull out of the event due to a scheduling conflict.
Illinois' only other appearance in the Jimmy V Classic was in 2003 when the Illini lost 70-51 to Providence.
It’ll be the first trip to the New York City Arena for the Illini since 2010 when Demetri McCamey & Co. knocked off Maryland 80-76 in front of 11,723 during the Coaches vs. Cancer event.
Illinois is 3-3 all time against Villanova and this will be the first meeting between the programs since the second round of the 1988 NCAA tournament when the sixth-seeded Wildcats knocked off the third-seeded Illini 66-63 in Cincinnati.
The Illinois nonconference schedule for 2014-15 already includes a game against Oregon at the United Center and the Las Vegas Invitational with a game against Indiana State followed by a matchup against either Memphis or Baylor.
The Braggin’ Rights game against Missouri in St. Louis and the ACC/Big Ten Challenge game at Miami are also on the docket.
The Jimmy V Classic raises money and awareness for the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research. It was founded in memory of former North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano, who died of cancer in 1993.