Alabama is looking to line up another matchup with a key Big Ten program in nonconference play.

According to college basketball insider Jon Rothstein, Nate Oats’ program is finalizing a deal to play Illinois in Birmingham during the 2024-25 season. An official date has not been finalized, but the game would be played in December.

When finalized, a follow-up game to be played in Chicago would follow in the 2025-26 season.

Alabama is coming off its first Final Four appearance in program history. The Crimson Tide were unfortunately just one of UConn’s victims in back-to-back national titles for the Huskies, but the future is bright under Oats.

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Scheduling outlook

Alabama has maintained ambitious nonconference scheduling under Oats, and the matchup against Illinois continues that trend. Last season, Alabama played games outside the SEC against Ohio State, Oregon, Clemson, Purdue, Creighton and Arizona in a particularly challenging schedule.

The year before, the Crimson Tide played matchups against Michigan State, UConn, UNC, Houston and Gonzaga in nonconference action before rolling to an SEC title and the No. 1 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament.

Oats has shown that kind of schedule can prepare the team for March Madness, and it looks like Alabama will continue that trend moving forward.