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CHAMPAIGN — The 20-game Big Ten men's basketball conference schedule is going to be challenging. There's no getting around that fact given the Big Ten's status as one of — if not the — most challenging leagues in the country.

Illinois will get the full challenging experience in 2019-20, with the Big Ten announcing each team's conference opponents Wednesday afternoon. The Illini will play home-and-home series with the likely top three teams in the conference — Michigan State, Michigan and Maryland — along with Purdue, Iowa, Rutgers and Northwestern.

Teams that will only make a trip to Champaign and State Farm Center in 2019-20 are Indiana, Minnesota and Nebraska. The Illini's three road games only will be against Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.

Illinois went 12-21 this past season and finished 12th in the Big Ten with a 7-13 conference mark. Despite a similar finish in the conference standings, the seven Big Ten wins was an improvement from Illini coach Brad Underwood's first season. Illinois went 4-14 in the Big Ten and 14-18 overall in 2017-18.

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).