NEW YORK - The Illinois men’s basketball team will play Villanova in the 2014 Jimmy V Men’s Classic on Tuesday, Dec. 9. The teams will square off in the first game of a doubleheader at 7 p.m. ET from New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden. ESPN will televise both games, which also includes Indiana vs. Louisville at 9 p.m. Illinois replaces Maryland – which due to scheduling issues – will now play in the 2016 Jimmy V Classic.
The Fighting Illini return all five starters and a total of nine letterwinners from last year's club that won 20 games and advanced to the NIT Second Round. The Fighting Illini also posted a 7-11 record in a deep Big Ten Conference. Highlighting the returnees are seniors Ravyonte Rice, Tracy Abrams and Nnanna Egwu.
"Illinois is a great addition to the 2014 Jimmy V Men’s Classic doubleheader,” said Nick Dawson, ESPN senior director, programming and acquisitions. “Their matchup against Villanova, followed by Indiana facing Louisville, gives the event two competitive games that will drive tremendous awareness to The V Foundation and the mission to beat cancer. We are also glad to have Maryland in the 2016 Jimmy V Classic.”
The Illinois-Villanova series dates back to 1938 with the two teams meeting six total times each winning three games. Villanova has captured the last two meetings, most recently a 66-63 victory in the 1988 NCAA Championship quarterfinal round. Villanova will play in its third Jimmy V Classic, losing the previous two games: 67-58 to Texas in 2008 and 81-71 to Missouri in 2011. Illinois faced Providence in the 2003 Jimmy V Classic, falling 70-51.
The early-season event will conclude the eighth annual Jimmy V Week, a weeklong initiative across multiple ESPN platforms and programs featuring special content to help raise funds for cancer research. In seven years, Jimmy V Week has generated $8,246,000 in total contributions for The V Foundation for Cancer Research, including a record-setting number of $1,827,000 in 2013.
Tickets for the Jimmy V Classic will go on sale at a later date this fall. Ticket prices range from $15-$275and will be available for purchase at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, Ticketmaster charge by phone at (866) 858-0008 and online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.thegarden.com.