The Arizona Wildcats and Illinois Fighting Illini will begin a two-year, home-and-home series in 2019-20, it was announced Friday.
Arizona will host Illinois in McKale Center on Nov. 10, 2019, then Illinois will host Arizona at State Farm Center the following season on Dec. 12, 2020.
“Since I came to Illinois in March 2017 I’ve talked about the importance of playing a great schedule,” Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said in a statement. “It’s a win-win for everyone; these are the types of games that players want to play in, recruits want to be part of, and fans want to watch and attend. Arizona is a tremendous team, and there is a shared history between our two programs that will create quite a bit of excitement as the next two chapters of this series unfold in Tucson and Champaign.”
Illinois and Arizona have played each other 14 times, with the Wildcats owning an 8-6 series lead.
Of course, the most memorable matchup between these schools took place in 2005 when Arizona blew a 15-point lead in four minutes in an Elite Eight loss.
That was revenge for 2001, when Arizona beat Illinois to advance to the Final Four.
Recently, Illinois has not been the same program it was in the early 2000s. The Illini have not made the NCAA Tournament since 2012-13 and have not had a winning record in the Big Ten since 2009-10.
They were 14-18 in 2017-18 and the No. 102 team in the country, per KenPom.