A look beyond the Big Ten for Illini men's basketball

A look beyond the Big Ten for Illini men's basketball

The nonconference schedule was released Friday for the Illinois men’s basketball team. Marcus Jackson gives insight on the Illini’s November and December foes:

Nov. 7, Qunicy (exhibition)
— In two games against Division I opponents (Xavier, Illinois State), the Division II Hawks lost by an average of 24.5 points.

Nov. 14, Georgia Southern
— The Illini, who are 3-0 all-time against the Eagles, will be looking to win their 16th straight season opener.

Nov. 16, Coppin State
— Nnanna Egwu and Tracy Abrams saw action as freshmen the last time these two teams met, but it was D.J. Richardson (20 points) and Meyers Leonard (18 points) who led the way.

Nov. 21, Austin Peay
— Andy Schmitt, a senior student manager during John Groce’s first season at Illinois, is a grad assistant for the Governors.

Nov. 24, Brown
— The Illini and the Bears have never met, but Illinois is 25-2 all-time against Ivy League foes, including a win last season against Dartmouth.

Nov. 27, Indiana State (Las Vegas)
— The last time Illinois played on Thanksgiving Day was a 2001 win against Penn, a game also played in Las Vegas.

Nov. 28, Memphis/Baylor (Las Vegas)
— Illinois freshman Leron Black was heavily recruited by the hometown Tigers and was at one time a Baylor commit.

Dec. 2, Miami
— Egwu (12 points, 12 rebounds) and Abrams (eight points) played prominent roles in a narrow NCAA tournament loss in 2013, the last time these programs met.

Dec. 6, American
— The Eagles reached the NCAA tournament last season, winning the Patriot League tournament title game against a Boston University team Illinois defeated in the NIT.

Dec. 9, Villanova (Madison Square Garden)
— This will be Illinois’ second appearance in the Jimmy V Classic, losing to Providence during Bruce Weber’s first season in 2003.

Dec. 13, Oregon (United Center)
— In their home away from home on the West Side of Chicago, the Illini are 35-12 all-time, including an 83-66 win against the Ducks during the 2004-05 season.

Dec. 17, Hampton
— This will be the first-ever meeting between the Illini and Pirates, who went 13-3 in the MEAC and earned a bid in the CBI last season.

Dec. 20, Missouri (St. Louis)
— Abrams’ free throws with 4.6 seconds left in last year’s game gave the Illini a one-point lead and helped end Missouri’s four-game win streak in the Braggin’ Rights series.

Dec. 27, Kennesaw State
— This will be the first meeting between the Illini and the suburban Atlanta school, which features assistant coach Jim Cremins, the nephew of former Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins.