Oct. 25—Welcome to "Good Morning, Illini Nation," your daily dose of college basketball news from Illini beat writer and AP Top 25 voter Scott Richey. He'll offer up insights every morning on Brad Underwood's team:
Illinois will host Marquette — a potential matchup of top 25 teams with the Illini currently 25th and Golden Eagles fifth — on Nov. 14 at State Farm Center. Then that's it. The Gavitt Tipoff Games will fade away just like the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
This was the last scheduled year for the cooperative event between the Big Ten and Big East and only extended into the 2023-24 season because it was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic. But there was some thought the two conferences could get together to extend the yearly matchups.
Apparently the Big Ten ultimately wasn't interested.
"We had an agreement in principle, we sent them a contract, and then they changed their minds."
Val Ackerman on the Big Ten and the Gavitt Games https://t.co/8VukH9TcZn
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) October 24, 2023
So what's next in a post-Gavitt Games and post-Big Ten/ACC Challenge world?
"I think we've got a lot of unknowns out there," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. "What conference scheduling looks like in the future, whether we stay at 20 games or whether we move to 22 with the additions. Everybody in here knows I like to schedule people. I love our home-and-home. We knew the ACC challenge was dying and going away. That's why we have Tennessee on the schedule.
"We'll have to continue to get those games. What multi-team events look like in the future we'll see. But I think until the league determines what our schedule is going to look like, how many teams and when we play ... One of the challenges our conference office has is we have teams on semesters, trimesters and quarters. We have completely different academic calendars, so we're not all off at the same time.
"Playing over Christmas break or Thanksgiving break might be good for some of us, but it's not good for the others. It's just a challenge, but we're always going to play people here. You don't have to worry about that."