Illini to play at Madison Square Garden

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.

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BruckJr wrote on June 02, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Didn't Groce say that he intended to play more home games?

ERE wrote on June 02, 2014 at 7:06 pm
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This is awesome! Strong East Coast Illini Nation will only grow ...

OldIlliniFan wrote on June 03, 2014 at 8:06 am

State Farm Center is under construction.