Illini Announce 2007-08 Schedule

Illinois wrestling coach Mark Johnson announced his team's 2007-08 schedule Thursday.
Illinois wrestling coach Mark Johnson announced his team's 2007-08 schedule Thursday.

Aug. 16, 2007

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois announced its 2007-08 wrestling schedule Tuesday, a slate that includes a trip to the Las Vegas Invitational at the beginning of December, the prestigious Midlands tournament at the end of December and a home dual meet against Iowa on Feb. 24 to close out the regular season. In Big Ten dual competition, the Illini will face four of the five conference teams that placed in the top-10 at the 2007 NCAA Championships.

"Our schedule is more intense than last year," Illinois coach Mark Johnson said. "By going back to Las Vegas and to the Virginia Duals, we add some more quality and depth to the schedule."

The Illini begin the season with a trip to the Missouri Open on Nov. 18, hosted by a Tiger team that finished third at the NCAA Championships in 2007. Illinois then travels to the Las Vegas Invitational Nov. 30-Dec. 1, but the Orange and Blue will split the squad that weekend, also sending some wrestlers to the UNI Open in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Illinois then opens its home schedule against Findlay and McKendree College on Dec. 8.

After a holiday break in competition, the Illini return to action at the Midlands tournament in Evanston, Ill., on Dec. 29-30. Two weeks later, the team will compete in the Virginia Duals on Jan. 11-12, and will visit the Wendy's Duals the following week in Ashland, Ohio.

"The Las Vegas Open, Midlands and the Missouri Open are three quality tournaments that will help us prepare for the tournaments at the end of the season," Johnson said. "And by the time we get to the Big Ten season, we're prepared for the tough dual meets we always see in conference."

The Orange and Blue begin their Big Ten slate at Michigan, which finished sixth in the nation last season, on Feb. 1 then return home on Feb. 3 for a dual with Penn State. The following Friday, Feb. 8, the Illini host Wisconsin before traveling to Indiana on Sunday, Feb. 10.

Illinois continues a three-match road swing the following weekend, facing 2007 NCAA team champion Minnesota on Feb. 15 and Northwestern, which finished fourth in the country last season, on Feb. 17 before returning home for a pair of home matches to finish the dual-meet season. Purdue visits Huff Hall on Feb. 22 and the Illini host rival Iowa, the eight-place finisher at last season's NCAA Championships, on Feb. 24 in what promises to be an exciting regular-season finale and senior day celebration.

All times are subject to change. The Big Ten Network will announce its winter schedule at a later date.