2006 Chicago Invitational Challenge

The brand new Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Ill., will host the 2006 Chicago Invitational Challenge Nov. 24 and 25 with three local schools playing in the Challenge. The University of Illinois, Bradley and Illinois-Chicago will lead the local contingent, and will be joined by Florida A&M, Jackson State, Rutgers, Miami (OH) and Savannah State.

Rounds one and two will be played at Bradley, Illinois, Miami and Rutgers. Illinois is scheduled to play Jackson State (Nov. 15) and Savannah State (Nov. 21) at the Assembly Hall as part of the tournament. The final two rounds of the Challenge will be played Friday, Nov. 24 and Saturday, Nov. 25 at the beautiful new Sears Centre. The Sears Centre is an 11,000-seat arena set to open this fall in Hoffman Estates. Tickets are available beginning Sept. 30 at the Sears Centre Box Office, select AMCORE Bank outlets, by phone at 1-888-SEARS TIX, and online at www.SearsCentre.com. Ticket prices are $100 for floor seats, $90 for club level, $80 for lower bowl and $60 for upper bowl.

The University of Illinois will have an allotment of tickets for the Chicago Invitational Challenge. IFUND members will receive a special ticker order form in the mail with any tickets not purchased by IFUND members available to the general public.

In alphabetical order the 8 teams which will participate:

BRADLEY- The Braves are coming off one of its finest seasons in school history after advancing to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. Coach Jim Les and the Braves look to rebuild with one returning starter. Bradley's 2006 record was 22-11.

FLORIDA A&M - The Rattlers return three starters for Head Coach Mike Gillespie and are coming off a 14-17 record and 10-8 in the MEAC Conference in 2005-06.

ILLINOIS- Returns three starters as a new era in Fighting Illini basketball begins for Head Coach Bruce Weber in his fourth season at Illinois. The Illini have won at least 25 games for six straight seasons.

ILLINOIS-CHICAGO - Coach Jimmy Collins returns a highly athletic and talented team with two starters back from last seasons 16-15 team.

JACKSON STATE - The Tigers return three starters for Head Coach Tevester Anderson, including one of the nation's leading scorers in Trey Johnson (23.5 ppg). Jackson State's record in 2006 was 15-17 and 10-8 in the SWAC Conference.

MIAMI UNIVERSITY- Redhawk Head Coach Charlie Coles has three returning starters off an 18-11 season including its second-straight NIT appearance.

RUTGERS - New Scarlet Knights Head Coach Fred Hill has three starters returning off last years club that went 18-12 and made a NIT appearance.

SAVANNAH STATE - Head Coach Horace Broadnax begins his second year as the Tigers return all five starters after a 2-28 season last year.

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