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>> Illini Open Basketball Season At Home vs. Loyala

Illinois will start finding out whether its young roster is ready to compete when it opens basketball season at home against Loyola.

The Illini and Ramblers tip off Friday night at 8 p.m.

Illinois is coming off a 20-14 season that ended two games into the NCAA Tournament. But the Illini lost 4 of their starters to graduation and a fifth player, promising freshman Jeremy Richmond, left the team for the NBA draft. He wasn't drafted and now awaits trial after pleading not guilty to battery charges.

The Illini roster includes six freshmen.

Friday will be the Loyola debut for new Ramblers coach Porter Moser.

NCAA Top-25 Men's Basketball  (ESPN/"USA Today" Rankings)
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  7:00 p.m. - #1 North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Michigan State Spartans  (Carrier Classic in San Diego)
  7:00 p.m. - #2 Kentucky Wildcats host Marist Red Foxes
  9:00 p.m. - #3 Ohio State Buckeyes host Wright State Raiders
  7:00 p.m. - #4 Connecticut Huskies host Columbia Lions
  9:00 p.m. - #6 Duke Blue Devils vs. Belmont Bruins  (Maui Invitational in Hawaii)
10:00 p.m. - #7 Vanderbilt Commodores host Oregon Ducks
  7:00 p.m. - #8 Louisville Cardinals host Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks
  7:00 p.m. - #10 Florida Gators host Jackson State Tigers
  7:00 p.m. - #11 Pittsburgh Panthers host Albany Great Danes
10:00 p.m. - #12 Baylor Bears host Texas Southern Tigers
  8:00 p.m. - #13 Kansas Jayhawks host Towson Tigers  (Maui Invitational in Hawaii)
  7:00 p.m. - #15 Xavier Musketeers host Morgan State Bears
  8:00 p.m. - #17 Alabama Crimson Tide host North Florida Ospreys
  7:00 p.m. - #18 Michigan Wolverines host Ferris State Bulldogs
10:30 p.m. - #20 UCLA Bruins host Loyola Marymount Lions
  9:00 p.m. - #21 Marquette Golden Eagles host Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers
11:05 p.m. - #23 Gonzaga Bulldogs host Eastern Washington Eagles
10:30 p.m. - #24 California Golden Bears host UC Irvine Anteaters
  8:00 p.m. - #25 Missouri Tigers host Southeast Missouri State Redhawks

>>Illini Host #24 Michigan Saturday

(Champaign, IL)  --  The Illinois Fighting Illini are back on the gridiron this weekend as they host 24th-ranked Michigan on Saturday in Champaign.  The Illini were off last weekend.  Illinois has dropped three straight games after winning its first six to sit at 6-and-3 overall and 2-and-3 in Big Ten play.  They are coming off a 10-7 setback to Penn State last weekend.  Illinois fell to Michigan in a triple-overtime thriller, 67-65, last year in Ann Arbor.

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