Champaign, Ill. (UI Release) - The Big Ten office announced the conference schedule Thursday, completing the 2012-13 Fighting Illini men's basketball schedule. Illinois will play a total of 18 home games at the Assembly Hall (16 regular season and two exhibition), and between 13 and 15 games during the regular season against teams that participated in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
A limited number of C-level season tickets are now on sale for new season ticket holders. Those tickets can be purchased online at FightingIllini.com, by phone (866-ILLINI-1 or 217-333-3470) or in person at the Assembly Hall South Box Office. As was previously announced in Wednesday's release of the non-conference schedule, Illinois men's basketball season tickets have been renewed at a current rate of 92 percent.
Student season tickets also are on sale now. Students can purchase their season tickets exclusively at FightingIllini.com and must order by Sept. 21 to receive priority seating.
Single-game tickets will go on sale on Oct. 23 at 9 a.m., online, by phone or in person.
"We have a challenging schedule this season where our team will be tested early and often," Illinois head coach John Groce said. "Our non-conference includes every situation imaginable, when you look at playing in the Maui Invitational with an outstanding field, true road games at Gonzaga and Hawaii, games against BCS opponents Missouri, Georgia Tech and Auburn, and a number of home games against quality teams."
"The journey of November and December gives us the opportunity to be prepared for what will be an extremely competitive Big Ten race," Groce continued. "There have been as many as six teams ranked in various preseason polls, and with the tremendous players, coaches and home court environments that exist across this league, we will be challenged at the highest level throughout the conference season."
Illinois opens the Big Ten race at Purdue on Jan. 2, then plays three of the next four games in Champaign.
Ohio State visits the Assembly Hall on Jan. 5, in a rematch of last season when the Illini knocked off the fifth-ranked Buckeyes at home behind Brandon Paul's career-high 43 points. Illinois then hosts Minnesota on Jan. 9. After a trip to Wisconsin on Jan. 12, the Illini return to The Hall to face Northwestern on Jan. 17.
Following a road game against Nebraska on Jan. 22, the Illini once again have a stretch of three out of four games at home. That streak begins with Michigan coming to Champaign on Jan. 27. The lone road game during that stretch is at Michigan State on Jan. 31. The Illini then return to Assembly Hall for consecutive games against Wisconsin on Feb. 3 and Indiana on Feb. 7.
Illinois next travels to Minnesota on Feb. 10 before hosting Purdue on Feb. 13. The road-home sequence continues as the Illini play at Northwestern on Feb. 17, then host Penn State on Feb. 21.
The Illini wrap up Big Ten play with three out of the last four games on the road. The closing stretch starts with a contest at Michigan on Feb. 24. Illinois' final home home game is against Nebraska on March 2 during Senior Day at the Assembly Hall. The Illini then travel to Iowa on March 5 and close out conference play at Ohio State on March 10.
Times and television information for the Big Ten schedule and remaining non-conference games will be released when available.