Illini men's basketball burning questions: Day 7

Illini men's basketball burning questions: Day 7

Are early December Big Ten games here to stay?

That could happen, but it won't necessarily be for the same reason in future years. Illinois is playing Northwestern and Maryland the first week of December this season because the Big Ten tournament is a week earlier than normal. But if (probably when) the Big Ten moves to a 20-game conference schedule, they're going to have to squeeze in two games somewhere. They made early December work this season, and that stretch could end up fairly informative about the Illini. Facing the Wildcats and Terrapins after a game at Wake Forest should give new coach Brad Underwood an early idea about what his first Illinois team can accomplish.