It is just about the end of February, but it looks like the Illinois basketball schedule is set for the rest of the regular season.
On Friday night, the Illinois basketball Twitter account posted the schedule changes for the Illini. The schedule change that is taking effect will have ramifications on the Big Ten regular season crown.
Illinois’ postponed game against Nebraska is now set for February 25, which is a Thursday, at 6 PM CT. The next game, and the biggest change everyone was wanting, is the rescheduling of the Michigan game. The Illini will now be going up against No. 3 Michigan on March 2, which is a Tuesday, at 6 PM CT.
Games have been rescheduled.
Illinois vs. Nebraska
Thursday, February 25
Big Ten Network
Illinois at Michigan
Tuesday, March 2
— Illinois Basketball (@IlliniMBB) February 20, 2021
Finally, we have a schedule to rely on, for now anyway. It is good to get these games scheduled because, based on what the schedule was looking like, I didn’t think these games were going to happen.
What does this mean for Illinois basketball?
Well, the rescheduling of these two games means a few things. The first, and arguably the biggest, meaning to all of this is the race for the regular season Big Ten crown.
Technically, Illinois is only a half-game out of the top spot, which is currently being held by Michigan. The Wolverines have only played 11 conference games while Illinois has played 14 conference games. The Illini currently has one more win than the Wolverines, but Michigan has two fewer losses.
A game against Michigan here in a couple of weeks will help determine the winner of the regular season Big Ten title.
Another effect that the schedule change could have is seeding for the NCAA tournament. If Illinois can finish the season strong and knock off Michigan, then there is a legit shot we end up as a No. 1 seed in the Big Dance. This isn’t a far stretch by any means.
The final note on the schedule change I want to point out is how intense these final couple of weeks are going to be. Illinois now has six games in a 15-day stretch. That is an insane schedule for this late in the season. I will be curious to see if this affects the players at all come postseason play.
I love that Illinois is going to get a crack at Michigan. This had me worried for a while. Hopefully, everyone can stay away from COVID-19 so we can finish this season the right way.