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Key Storylines from Illinois Basketball’s Conference Schedule



Armchair Film Room: Marcus Domask vs Ottawa

Key Storylines from Illinois Basketball’s Conference Schedule

Illinois Basketball is just around the corner! As Football season has finished the first quarter of their season, Illinois Basketball is about a month away from their exhibition game against Ottawa. Illinois Football has struggled to start their season, despite playing a rather difficult schedule. Fans have grown uneasy and are undoubtedly looking to the basketball team to ease their qualms. Brad Underwood and his crew have a similar situation to the football team. They return their key stars, however will be relying on some very young and inexperienced players to take some big time steps. There is a lot to ask out of transfers such as Quincy Guerrier, Marcus Domask and Justin Harmon so that a successful season can happen.

Today, the Big Ten schedule was released.

Illinois starts and ends the conference schedule with a bang.

Illinois will start Big Ten play on December 2nd on the road against Rutgers. Though Illinois has largely dominated Rutgers in Champaign and in the Big Ten Tournament in 2021, Steve Pikiell has inversely dominated Illinois at Jersey Mike Center. In fact, Brad Underwood has only won once in four games in Piscataway. Rutgers is a tough place for anyone to play in, Illinois will have to be on their best to start their conference play with a win. After that, they play a month of non-conference games. Only to play Northwestern at home, Purdue (away), Michigan State (home) and Maryland (home). After that, they travel to Ann Arbor to play Michigan.

Though Michigan is no slouch, that is probably their easiest game until January 30th at Ohio State. Despite that, we all saw how the Illini fared this year in Columbus. Their last 3 games of the season are at Wisconsin, home against Purdue and at Iowa.  Talk about a house of horrors to end. A game to end the season at Iowa has always been a testy battle in Champaign. However, on the road… look out.

Illinois did not get lucky with their double plays

The schedule looks daunting. You would hope that Illinois drew Nebraska, Penn State, Minnesota or even Iowa as the teams they hoped to play twice. However, the double plays for Illinois are Rutgers, Purdue, MSU, Northwestern, and Maryland. All of these teams project to be upper-half teams. Particularly, MSU and Purdue look to be the top dawgs this year. To play them twice? I’d say that is bad luck.

Overall, Illinois basketball’s consistency has to improve. They started last year 0-3, and had to claw their way back. They need to find the “roadkills” that made Ayo Dosunmu so famous. Last year, they were never able to win back-to-back games and consistently lost on the road. If they can steal a game against their double plays on the road, they will hopefully have a great season. Their non-con schedule is no joke either. Good luck, Brad.

Alex is the Owner of, your go-to source for in depth coverage of the Illinois Fighting Illini. Alex is a Resident Physician in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for Northwestern Medicine and has had articles featured in top media publications like Bleacher Report, YardBarker, Verbal Commits, CBS sports and more.