2011-2012 Schedule and Roster: Illinois

It is going to be tough to tell what kind of team the Illini are going to have for the upcoming season. The Illini lost some of the leading voices on their team. They have a couple juniors that will have to be the voice of reason and lead this team during the 2011-2012 season. 

They have five total recruits in the 2011 recruiting class. Four of those five recruits are ESPNU Top 100 prospects, giving Illinois the 11th ranked recruiting class in the nation. Nnanna Egwu is the top prospect in the class with the most hype behind him. He should be able to contribute immediately as a freshman for the Fighting Illini. 

Joe Lunardi has projected the Illini as a 12 seed in his early predicitons for the NCAA Tournament. I think it could be a fair representation of how everyone thinks that Illinois will do this season. They have a lot of questions but with the quality of their recruiting class, they still can make the tournament. 

Illinois schedule starts out fairly easy. Loyola, SIUE and Lipscomb are the first three games and they should all be wins.

After that Illinois travels to Mexico for the Cancun Challenge. It involves Rutgers, Illinois State and Richmond. Illinois will for sure play Richmond in there first game when they arrive. The next game will either be ISU or Rutgers. Rutgers and Richmond will be a better test to see how Illinois is going to perform this year. I would consider Illinois the favorite in Cancun but you can never be too sure, as Purdue found out last year when they were upset by Richmond in an early season tournament.

For the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the Fighting Illini face Maryland on the road. This is Illinois first true road test of the season. At this time, they shouldn't really have any losses, but you never know, any team can win on any given day. 

Right after the Maryland game, Illinois flies home to take on Gonzaga at home. Gonzaga is expected to be ranked, so consider the Illini to be put on watch. Illinois will play rival Missouri, as they do every year, right before conference play starts.

In conference play, Illinois toughest stretch, unfortunately, looks like it will be their final six games of the regular season. In that stretch they play Purdue, at Nebraska, at Ohio State, vs Iowa, vs Michigan and end at Wisconsin. That is a brutal stretch to end your season and will more than likely decide their NCAA Tournament fate. They could possibly only win two of those six games, if that happens, I think they would have to make a finals push in the Big Ten Tournament to get to the NCAA Tournament.

I am looking forward to seeing what kind of season Bruce Weber and the Fighting Illini can put together. It should be an interesting ride all the way to March Madness. 

(Click below for the full SCHEDULE and ROSTER. . . plus a POLL!)

THE SCHEDULE: 

Date Opponent / Event Location Time / Result
08/06/11 Alumni Game # Assembly Hall W, 70-67
10/23/11 Orange & Blue Scrimmage # Assembly Hall 4:00 p.m. CT
11/01/11 vs. Wayne State (Neb.) # TV Assembly Hall 7:30 p.m. CT
11/07/11 vs. Quincy # TV Assembly Hall 7:30 p.m. CT
11/11/11 vs. Loyola (Chicago) TV Assembly Hall 8:00 p.m. CT
Cancun Challenge
11/14/11 vs. SIU Edwardsville TV Assembly Hall 7:30 p.m. CT
11/17/11 vs. Lipscomb TV Assembly Hall 8:00 p.m. CT
11/22/11 vs. Richmond TV Cancun, Mexico TBA
11/23/11 vs. Rutgers OR Illinois State TV Cancun, Mexico TBA
11/27/11 vs. Chicago State TV Assembly Hall 12:00 p.m. CT
11/29/11 at Maryland TV College Park, Md. 6:30 p.m. CT
12/03/11 vs. Gonzaga TV Assembly Hall 2:15 p.m. CT
12/07/11 vs. St. Bonaventure TV Assembly Hall 8:00 p.m. CT
12/11/11 vs. Coppin State TV Assembly Hall 7:00 p.m. CT
12/17/11 vs. UNLV TV Chicago, Ill. 4:00 p.m. CT
12/19/11 vs. Cornell TV Assembly Hall 7:00 p.m. CT
12/22/11 vs. Missouri TV St. Louis, Mo. 8:00 p.m. CT
12/27/11 vs. Minnesota * TV Assembly Hall 6:30 p.m. CT
12/31/11 at Purdue * TV West Lafayette, Ind. 3:00 p.m. CT
01/04/12 at Northwestern * TV Evanston, Ill. 6:00 p.m. CT
01/07/12 vs. Nebraska * TV Assembly Hall 12:00 p.m. CT
01/10/12 vs. Ohio State * TV Assembly Hall 8:00 p.m. CT
01/19/12 at Penn State * TV University Park, Pa. 8:00 p.m. CT
01/22/12 vs. Wisconsin * TV Assembly Hall 1:00 p.m. CT
01/28/12 at Minnesota * TV Minneapolis, Minn. 7:00 p.m. CT
01/31/12 vs. Michigan State * TV Assembly Hall 6:00 p.m. CT
02/05/12 vs. Northwestern * TV Assembly Hall 2:00 p.m. CT
02/09/12 at Indiana * TV Bloomington, Ind. 7:00 p.m. CT
02/12/12 at Michigan * TV Ann Arbor, Mich. 12:00 p.m. CT
02/15/12 vs. Purdue * TV Assembly Hall 7:30 p.m. CT
02/18/12 at Nebraska * TV Lincoln, Neb. 4:00 p.m. CT
02/21/12 at Ohio State * TV Columbus, Ohio 6:00 p.m. CT
02/26/12 vs. Iowa * TV Assembly Hall 5:00 p.m. CT
03/01/12 vs. Michigan * TV Assembly Hall 6:00 p.m. CT
03/04/12 at Wisconsin * TV Madison, Wis. TBA
Big Ten Tournament
03/08/12 vs. TBA TV Indianapolis, Ind. TBA
03/09/12 vs. TBA TV Indianapolis, Ind. TBA
03/10/12 vs. TBA TV Indianapolis, Ind. TBA
03/11/12 vs. TBA TV Indianapolis, Ind. 2:30 p.m. CT

THE ROSTER:

No. Name Ht. Wt. Position Year Hometown High School Last School
0 Sam Maniscalco 6-0 180 Guard GS Chicago, Ill. St. Patrick Bradley
1 D.J. Richardson 6-3 195 Guard JR Peoria, Ill. Central Findlay (Nev.) Prep
2 Joseph Bertrand 6-5 195 Guard RS SO Sterling, Ill. Sterling Sterling
3 Brandon Paul 6-4 200 Guard JR Gurnee, Ill. Warren Warren
4 Crandall Head 6-4 190 Guard SO Matteson, Ill. Rich South Rich South
12 Meyers Leonard 7-1 245 Center SO Robinson, Ill. Robinson Robinson
13 Tracy Abrams 6-1 185 Guard FR Chicago, Ill. Mount Carmel Mount Carmel
15 Mike Shaw 6-8 230 Forward FR Chicago, Ill. De La Salle De La Salle
20 Myke Henry 6-6 230 Guard/Forward FR Chicago, Ill. Orr Orr
21 Devin Langford 6-7 200 Guard/Forward FR Huntsville, Ala. Lee Lee
23 Ibby Djimde 6-8 250 Forward/Center FR Bamako, Mali Huntington (W.Va.) Prep Huntington (W.Va.) Prep
25 Jean Selus 6-2 195 Guard SR Montreal, Quebec Winter Garden (Fla.) Parkland (Ill.) College
32 Nnanna Egwu 6-11 245 Forward/Center FR Chicago, Ill. Saint Ignatius Saint Ignatius
42 Tyler Griffey 6-8 230 Forward JR Wildwood, Mo. Lafayette Lafayette
44 Kevin Berardini 6-0 175 Guard RS SO Lake Forest, Ill. Lake Forest Loyola Marymount

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