NU to host Maryland, Illini to host Ga. Tech
Northwestern is 6-7 and has won its last four games in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Wildcats never have faced Maryland in the conference challenge.
Illinois also is 6-7 and has won its last three games in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. It has never played Georgia Tech in the challenge.
Northwestern went 19-14 overall and reached its fourth consecutive NIT last season. The Wildcats return four starters and five of their top seven players. Northwestern also will add Louisville transfer Jared Swopshire and TCU transfer Nikola Cerina, who will both be eligible next season, and redshirt freshman Tre Demps, who sat out last season with an injury.
Illinois went 17-15 overall and was not invited to a postseason tournament. The Illini fired coach Bruce Weber following the season, and he was replaced by John Groce, who coached Ohio to the Sweet 16 last season. Illinois will return all but two players from last year’s team and add Coastal Carolina transfer Sam McLaurin, who will be eligible next season.
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Powers is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997. He joined ESPNChicago in May 2009 and lives in Chicago.
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Bennett joined ESPN.com in August 2008 after nine years at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., where he covered college sports and the University of Louisville beat. He lives in Louisville and writes for the Big Ten blog.
Fortuna joined ESPN.com in 2011 after working for MLB.com and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, where he covered college sports. He grew up in New York and is a Penn State graduate. Fortuna's Notre Dame blog is here.
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