History

 

The State Farm Center has served as home to the Fighting Illini men's basketball program since its construction in 1963 as well as the home to the Fighting Illini women's basketball program from 1981-93 and 1998-99 to the present. In 1999 it became even better after a multi-million dollar construction project that brought the teams new locker rooms, a training room and dining area, as well as a new tunnel area to accommodate network television trucks and team buses. The most recent addition to "The Hall" was a $1.7 million state-of-the-art video board installed prior to the 2005 season.

The Fighting Illini men's team opened play at the State Farm Center, then Assembly Hall, on March 4, 1963, with a 79-73 victory over Northwestern. Since that first game, the Illini have racked up more than 500 home wins. Illinois has sold out more than 220 games at the State Farm Center, which seats 16,618.

Fans help turn the State Farm Center into a sea of orange for every Illini home game, with practically every person in attendance proudly wearing orange. That, combined with the Orange Krush student cheering section surrounding the court, gives the Illini one of the best home court advantages in the country.

The Fighting Illini women's team opened play at the State Farm Center on Nov. 20, 1981 with a 79-66 victory over Loyola. The Illini finished their first stint at "The Hall" on March 13, 1993. After playing five seasons in the gymnasium at Huff Hall, with three single games at the State Farm Center, the Fighting Illini moved back down Fourth Street permanently on November 23, 1998. The women's team has brought in a multitude of fans for games played at the State Farm Center with its largest crowd being the 16,050 fans that entered the gates on Feb. 23, 1997.