The excitement level is amped up in Champaign, as the State Farm Center will open its doors to fans on Wednesday night when the Illini take on Notre Dame in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
There are a number of reasons to be excited. John Groce's squad will get their first chance to play in the renovated arena, and they will do so against a high-level opponent. In addition, Illinois will officially dedicate the State Farm Center court in the name of Hall of Fame coach Lou Henson.
Fans will get the opportunity to check out the new digs, but they won't be the only ones getting an up-close look. The Illini are set to host a big slate of recruiting targets for the game.
Five-star 2017 big man Jeremiah Tilmon headlines the visit list - per a source. He will be joined by other La Lumiere targets in five-star 2017 forward Brian Bowen and elite 2019 point guard Tyger Campbell. Bowen and Campbell visited Champaign in late September with the La Lumiere program, and Tilmon visited earlier that month as well.
The Illini will also host 2017 small forward Javon Pickett from Belleville East. This will be the third time Pickett has visited campus since the beginning of August. High-level hometown product Tim Finke will be there as well.
Last but not least, 2016 point guard signee Te'Jon Lucas will make his way down from Milwaukee to watch his future teammates.
This game has loomed as a huge recruiting opportunity for the Orange and Blue, and based on the list of visitors, Groce and his staff certainly took advantage.