"Illinois feels compelled to spend at least one of its home opportunities playing in the biggest city in the state.
It has become a tradition, dating back to 1994.
In theory, it is a great idea. But the problem for Illinois in Chicago is finding the right opponent.
And with an expanded conference schedule, Illinois is running out of open spots.
The school came up with a solution. For at least one year.
Illinois decided to play a Big Ten home game, one of its 10, at the United Center.
Unfortunately, Illinois didn't get to choose the opponent. Or the timing. That was left to the Big Ten and its TV partners.
They picked Ohio State for Illinois. On Wednesday. In early December."
"The announced crowd was 5,285, 25 percent capacity in the 20,917-seat arena.
What can Illinois do to build the Chicago attendance?
"That's a great question," Underwood said. "Probably people other than me need to answer that. I guess maybe if were 8-0 or something. We'll control what we can control. When it's time to play in the United Center, we'll be here."
Even on a chilly weeknight, the crowd at State Farm Center would have been solid. Unlike Wednesday at the United Center. Where the crowd was tiny.
Ten minutes before the opening tip, there weren't 1,000 people in the seats."
"Ohio State had to prefer playing at the UC over SFC.
"This did get loud," Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. "But I'm sure in Champaign it gets louder."
The Buckeyes aren't done with the United Center. They play UCLA here on Dec. 22."
"Maybe it is time for Illinois to put the Chicago game on hold. Not forever, but for a few years at least.
Plenty of Chicago area options exist, like the Big Ten tournament every other year and Northwestern in nearby Evanston. The Wildcats host the Illini on Jan. 6.
That game and the Big Ten tournament should have been enough."
furg, thanks mt, and #wewillcontinuetolose!
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