The Illinois basketball schedule is starting to take shape for the 2022-23 campaign.
The Roman Main Event field had already been established back in October 2021 when it was announced that Baylor, UCLA, Virginia, and Illinois were going to be participating. Now it looks like the first-round matchups have been established, as Illinois is expected to play UCLA in the first game.
This tournament has seen some stacked fields in the past. Just last year, then-unranked Arizona beat down No. 4 Michigan 80-62 to take the crown. The field also featured UNLV and Wichita State. Both Michigan and Wichita State made the 2021 NCAA tournament, and Arizona and Michigan were both participants in the 2022 NCAA tournament.
Illinois basketball is going to face some stout competition in the 2022 Roman Main Event.
While the 2021 Roman Main Event had some talented rosters, the 2022 rendition should prove to be just as competitive.
Three out of the four teams from the 2022 Roman Main Event made the NCAA tournament last season. The only team that didn’t was Virginia, and they are traditionally a college powerhouse.
As far as seeding goes, Baylor was a No. 1 seed in this past NCAA tournament. UCLA and Illinois both checked in as No. 4 seeds.
Illinois doesn’t have much of a history with the other three programs on the basketball court, though. The team the Illini have played the most is UCLA. We have matched up against the Bruins on nine different occasions and have a 3-6 record.
This is also an intriguing matchup because these two teams could be conference foes as soon as 2024. In the past month, it was announced that both USC and UCLA would be joining the Big Ten in 2024. That means the game we get to see in November between the Illini and Bruins is just a little taste of what Big Ten life is going to be like in the future.
Baylor has only played the Illini four times in the history of the two programs. Illinois is 3-1 against the Bears, but the most recent loss came two seasons ago when No. 5 Illinois fell to No. 2 Baylor, 82-69.
The final team in the tournament is Virginia. The Cavaliers have a great history of basketball, but one thing they have never done is compete against Illinois. Come this November, history might be made by watching Illinois take on Virginia for the first time ever.
I am excited to see what Illinois can do this season. We should have a pretty good team, and these early season tournaments will test the strength of our roster.