Illinois Fighting Illini Basketball

Illinois Fighting Illini Basketball Tickets

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Illinois Fighting Illini Basketball

College: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Conference: Big Ten

Stadium: State Farm Center (capacity 16,500)

Head Coach: Brad Underwood (2017-present)

2022-23 Regular Season Record: 20–13

2023 Postseason Record: NCAA March Madness first round (defeated 73-63 by the Arkansas Razorbacks)

Legendary Alumni: Andy Phillip, Johnny Kerr, Don Ohl, Meyers Leonard, Deron Williams 

National Championships: 0 (Runner-up in 2005)

Illinois Fighting Illini Basketball

The Illinois Fighting Illini men’s basketball team has always inspired a dedicated following of local fans despite the team’s fortunes on the court varying over the decades. The Illini had a strong start in their earliest years, winning their first conference title in 1915 and qualifying for the NCAA’s Final Four in 1949, 1951, and 1952. A long slump followed throughout the 1960s and 70s before the Illini re-emerged onto the national stage in the 1980s The team has remained a solid contender ever since, reaching 28 NCAA postseason March Madness tournaments since 1981 that led to 8 trips to the Sweet 16, 4 to the Elite 8, and 2 to the Final Four. Legendary head coach Bruce Weber even led the Illini all the way to the NCAA championship final in 2005, where the team lost a heartbreaker 75–70 to the high-powered North Carolina Tar Heels. During his tenure, Coach Weber also oversaw the ascension of some of the university’s best ever players of modern times to the NBA, including Meyers Leonard and Deron Williams (who became a three-time NBA All Star), to complement the Illini’s earlier generation of NBA stars: Andy Phillip, Johnny Kerr, and Don Ohl. In recent seasons, the Illini have climbed back into conference and national contention following several dismal losing seasons, reaching the March Madness tournament in each of the last three seasons. Illini fans will be hoping to see their team build on these positive steps in 2024 and the years to come so that the team can one day bring a first-ever title home to Illinois.

How can I get cheap tickets to Illinois Fighting Illini games?

Located in the small college town of Champaign, two hours drive south of Chicago, State Farm Center has been the home of Illinois Fighting Illini basketball for decades. Illinois Fighting Illini games draw in big crowds from the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana as well as the surrounding areas, making the atmosphere at the team’s home games truly something special. This can, however, render tickets difficult to come by, particularly for postseason tournament games, key conference deciders, or rivalry matchups (see below). To find the cheapest tickets to Illinois Fighting Illini games, search the TicketX listings on this page and use our trusty TicketX seating chart to compare prices and locations. You can buy tickets from TicketX with a single click for the lowest commission fees! 

Illinois Fighting Illini Basketball Rivalries

The Illinois Fighting Illini have a huge basketball rivalry with the Indiana Hoosiers. Located in neighboring states, the two teams have not only shared innumerable hotly-contested games against one another (Indiana narrowly leads the all-time series at 96-92), but have even had coaches spar over common recruitment areas as well as controversies on the court. Most recently, animosity was stirred up when “Indiana Mr. Basketball” (Eric Gordon) said that he would play for Illinois but then changed his mind and signed over to Indiana. Let’s just say that Mr. Basketball did not get a warm reception in Champaign after that. The Illini also have a major rivalry with the Iowa State Cyclones, another local battle with a team from a state that borders Illinois.

Are Illinois Fighting Illini basketball games exciting?

Visitors to State Farm Center will be struck by the passion and devotion of Illinois Fighting Illini fans, particularly in the Orange Krush student sections where fans squeeze into packed areas surrounding the court to generate plenty of noise. While there was formerly an annual event at the venue known as Paint the Hall Orange, this was deemed no longer necessary after fans began to show up at every game cloaked in the team’s bright orange anyway. On some nights, fan sections wear alternating orange and navy blue for a truly stunning visual effect.

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