The Arizona Wildcats and Illinois Fighting Illini have agreed to postpone the return game of their home-and-home series until the 2021-22 season, it was officially announced Friday.
It was originally scheduled for Dec. 12 in Champaign. Arizona won the first matchup 90-69 in Tucson last season.
NEWS | Arizona and Illinois have mutually agreed to delay the return game of the current series in Champaign until the 2021-22 season. The date of that game is TBD.#BearDown | #APlayersProgram pic.twitter.com/FKBRbE50qV— Arizona Basketball (@APlayersProgram) October 2, 2020
This isn’t that surprising as Matt Norlander of CBS Sports reported that Arizona, which also bowed out of the Preseason NIT and likely won’t face Gonzaga in Spokane, plans to play all of its non-conference games at home this year, likely to reduce travels costs and the possibility of COVID-19 exposure.
Related: Arizona, which backed out of playing in Orlando’s preseason NIT, plans to play all of its noncon games at home this season, including an MTE over T’giving weekend, per sources. I’d anticipate the majority, if not all, its opponents to be from mid-major leagues out West.— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) October 2, 2020
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you look at it) Illinois probably won’t be as good in 2021-22 as they will be this season. Junior guard Ayo Dosunmu returned to school despite many projecting him to be a potential first-round pick. So did sophomore big man Kofi Cockburn, though he would have probably been a second rounder.
ESPN has Illinois as the No. 7 team in the country in its way-too-early season rankings.