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updated: 8/30/2012 5:10 PM

Illini to open Big Ten basketball season at Purdue

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Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois will open its first Big Ten basketball season under new coach John Groce on the road at Purdue on Jan. 2 but then play three of its next four games at home.

The Big Ten released conference basketball schedules Thursday.

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After the Boilermakers, the Illini will face Ohio State, Minnesota and Northwestern at home between Jan. 5 and 17. Those games are wrapped around a Jan. 12 trip to Wisconsin.

The Illini will close the conference schedule with three of their last four games on the road at Michigan, Iowa and Ohio State. The home finale will be March 2 against Nebraska.

Groce came to Illinois from Ohio after longtime coach Bruce Weber was fired over the Illini's 17-15 season. The Illini lost 12 of their last 14.

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