Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb announced the 2010 schedule Tuesday.
Dec. 8, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois coach Dan Hartleb announced his team's schedule for the 2010 season Tuesday, with the team slated to play in the second-annual Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge on Feb. 26-28, and tournaments at 2009 NCAA Tournament qualifiers East Carolina and Coastal Carolina early in the season. The Illini will face six NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago in 2010 - East Carolina, Coastal Carolina, Missouri, Dartmouth, Indiana and Ohio State.
"We feel like we've put together a schedule that will challenge us and give us an opportunity to prove ourselves against some of the top teams in the country at the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge, the LeClair Invitational Tournament and the Caravelle Resort Classic," Hartleb said. "Playing tough opponents early in the season will prepare us for the rigorous Big Ten schedule. We've also added a number of home-and-home series with in-state schools for the 2010 season, which has helped us improve our mid-week schedule."
The Illini will open the season with a two-game home series against Bradley on Feb. 20-21, then will travel to the Clearwater/St. Petersburg, Fla., area, for the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge, where it will face the challenging trio of Notre Dame, South Florida and St. John's, three of the top five teams in BIG EAST conference play last year.
The next weekend, the Orange and Blue will travel to the Keith LeClair Invitational Tournament hosted by East Carolina, and will face the host Pirates, Western Carolina and West Virginia. The following weekend will be the Caravelle Resort Classic in Conway, S.C., where Illinois will play host Coastal Carolina twice as well as Lipscomb and Ball State. Over spring break, the Illini will take its annual trip to Winter Haven, Fla., where it will play in the RussMatt Central Florida Invitational. Illinois will face 2009 NCAA Tournament qualifier Dartmouth twice as well as Bucknell, Akron, North Dakota State and Southeastern (FL) University.
After Spring Trip, the Illini will travel to Illinois State on March 30 and return home on March 31 for a game against Chicago State before opening the Big Ten slate against Penn State at Illinois Field. The next week will by a trying one for Illinois, as it travels to Bradley, faces Missouri at Busch Stadium on April 7, and travels to Iowa for a weekend series.
The Illini will return home to host Eastern Illinois on April 13 before traveling to Marion, Ill., for the annual game against Southern Illinois at Rent One Park on April 14. That weekend, Michigan comes to Illinois Field for a three-game series before Illinois State visits Champaign on April 20. The Illini face EIU for the second time in eight days on April 21 when the two teams meet at Grimes Field at Peterson Park in Mattoon, the site of the teams' matchup in 2008. That weekend, the Illini wrap up the first half of Big Ten play at Michigan State.
Illinois then returns home for its longest home stand of the season, a six-game stretch in which it faces Bradley, Northwestern, Southern Illinois and Butler. The Illini then travel to Ohio State for a weekend series before taking off the middle of the week for final exams. Illinois gets back to action by hosting Purdue for a three-game series and finishing its mid-week slate with a contest at Illinois Field against Western Michigan on May 18. Illinois finishes the regular season with a trip to Bloomington, Ind., for the final Big Ten series of the season. The Big Ten Tournament will be May 26-29.