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Illinois, Northwestern announce Big Ten men’s basketball schedule

Northwestern University Men's Basketball Head Coach Chris Collins (center), flanked by players Sanjay Lumpkin (left) and Bryant McIntosh react to the NCAA Tournament Selection Show during a watch party at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Sunday night, March 12, 2017. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The Illinois and Northwestern men’s basketball teams announced their Big Ten conference schedule for the 2017-18 season Wednesday.

The Big Ten tournament will be played a week earlier than normal this upcoming season, so all conference teams will play two league games in the first week of December.

The Wildcats will open Big Ten play on Dec. 1 when they host Illinois in the only scheduled game between the two schools. Two days later, Northwestern will face defending conference champion Purdue on the road while Illinois hosts Maryland. Northwestern will return to conference play on Jan. 2 at home against Nebraska and Illinois will return to Big Ten play on Jan. 3 at Minnesota.

Northwestern will play three-straight home games against Big Ten opponents in February. They play Michigan State on Feb. 17, Maryland on Feb. 19 and Wisconsin on Feb. 22 as a part of senior night.

Senior Night for Illinois is set for Feb. 22 against Purdue. The Illini conclude their regular season at Rutgers on Feb. 25.

The Big Ten Tournament is set for Feb. 28-March 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Northwestern returns four starters from last year’s team that won a school-record 24 games and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. Illinois went 20-15 last season, including 8-10 in Big Ten games.

The full season schedule for Northwestern can be found here and for Illinois here.