CHAMPAIGN IL - JANUARY 18: Brandon Paul #3 of the Illinois Fighting Illini yells after making a shot and drawing a foul against the Michigan State Spartans at Assembly Hall on January 18 2011 in Champaign Illinois. Illinois defeated Michigan State 71-62. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Notre Dame and Illinois will go up against major conference competition for the time this season.
The very beginning of the college basketball season is usually used by teams as a time to work out kinks and to learn to play with each other before stepping into the spotlight. Some teams, say North Carolina or Duke, will play nationally televised games vs. big name opponents almost immediately, but for most teams, the opening few games of the season are mere scrimmages.
This week, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, having fattened up on some inferior competition, will travel to Kansas City, Mo. to take part in the Progressive CBE Classic. There they will meet their first true test of the season in the University of Missouri Tigers. The Tigers, under new coach Frank Haith, debuted in both the AP and Coaches Poll rankings this week, coming in at No. 24 and No. 25 respectively. Depending on the outcome of that game, the Irish will then take on either the California Bears or the Georgia Bulldogs.
Out in the Big Ten, the Illinois Fighting Illini will travel down to Cancun, Mexico to take part in the Cancun Challenge. They will open against Richmond, and from there will play either Rutgers or Illinois State, and then possibly a championship game if they win out. The Northwestern Wildcats, meanwhile, after having already defeated LSU and Seton Hall this season in the Charleston Classic, are taking it easy before going up against Georgia Tech next week. Here are this week's schedules for all three teams:
The undefeated DePaul Blue Demons will take their talents down to Orlando for the holiday week, where they will participate in the Old Spice Classic. They will open with Tubby Smith's Minnesota Gophers, and from there will either play Indiana State or Texas Tech. Depending on how those two games go, the Blue Demons could find themselves finishing up the tournament vs. a team like Arizona State or Wake Forest.
DePaul Blue Demons
Thu, Nov. 24: vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers (in Orlando, Fla.), 2:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN3
Fri, Nov. 25: vs. Indiana State Sycamores OR Texas Tech Raiders (in Orlando, Fla.), 12:00 p.m. ET OR 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN OR ESPN2 OR ESPNU
Sun, Nov. 27: opponent, time, television TBD
Illinois Fighting Illini
Tue, Nov. 22: vs. Richmond Spiders (in Cancun, Mexico), 9:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network
Wed, Nov. 23: vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights OR Illinois State Redbirds (in Cancun, Mexico), TBA, CBS Sports Network
Sun, Nov. 27: vs. Chicago State Cougars, 1:00 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
Fri, Nov. 25: vs. Stony Brook Seawolves, 1:00 p.m. ET, Big Ten Digital Network
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Mon, Nov. 21: vs. Missouri Tigers (in Kansas City, Mo.), 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN3
Tue, Nov. 22: vs. California Bears OR Georgia Bulldogs (in Kansas City, Mo), 7:45 p.m. ET OR 10 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN3 OR ESPNU
Sun, Nov 27: vs. Bryant Bulldogs, 2:00 p.m. ET, no TV