Illinois basketball fans lately have called for the home schedule to add a little flash. The Illini reportedly will spice up the schedule a tad -- though fans will have to wait until the 2018-19 to see the result in Champaign.
Jon Rothstein of FanRagSports.com reports that Illinois and UNLV have agreed to a multi-year series that will include the Illini traveling to Las Vegas this season on Dec. 9. The Runnin' Rebels will return the game to Champaign during the 2018-19 season.
Neither team has made the NCAA Tournament since 2013.
The Illini are 4-1 all-time against UNLV. The Illini defeated UNLV 61-59 in Las Vegas on Nov. 26, 2013. The lone loss was a 64-48 defeat to the Runnin' Rebels at the United Center during the 2011-12 season.
UNLV went 11-21 overall and 4-14 in the Mountain West last season, the first under head coach Marvin Menzies. UNLV signed five-star prospect Brandon McCoy and three-star prospect Amauri Hardy, who originally committed to Illinois coach Brad Underwood at Oklahoma State.
Reported opponents for the Illini's 2017-18 season now include UNLV, New Mexico State (at the United Center), DePaul (in Champaign on Nov. 17) and Missouri (at Scottrade Center in St. Louis).
Another night game for football
The Big Ten announced the Week 1 and Week 2 kickoff times for Illinois football.
The Illini kick off the season with an 11 a.m. Central Time start time against Ball State on Saturday, Sept. 2, to be televised on BTN.
Week 2 provides Illinois with yet another primetime kickoff. BTN announced a 7 p.m. CT start time for Saturday, Sept. 9 against Western Kentucky.
It will be the first of three Illini primetime games. The Week 3 game at South Florida will kick off at 6 p.m. CT on Friday, Sept. 15, on ESPN. Following a bye week, the Illini host Nebraska for yet another Friday night game -- 7 p.m. CT, Sept. 29, on FS1.
The Friday night games have been criticized by high school football coaches who contend that Friday nights should be reserved for prep games.