Illinois Fighting Illini Basketball: Breaking Down the Non-Conference Schedule

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Illinois Fighting Illini Basketball: Breaking Down the Non-Conference Schedule

In 2011, the Fighting Illini went into the Big Ten season with only two losses: to UNLV and Missouri. Things only went downhill from there though, as the Illini struggled in league play and finished with a 6-12 conference record.

Even after a hot start to the season, Illinois didn't qualify for any postseason tournaments. Meyers Leonard's decision to leave early for the NBA was a good choice for him personally, but it leaves John Groce and crew with few options for 2012-13.

Illinois tends to fare better when expectations are low, although I still see them finishing in the bottom third of the Big Ten. This year's non-conference schedule will be a challenge, but isn't too daunting and should be a good way to ease into Big Ten play after the New Year.

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