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NIU

NIU men facing trips to Marquette, Iowa State; women with six games against in-state teams

NIU Huskie guard Aaric Armstead (23) dives for a loose ball against Akron guard Antino Jackson (55) at The NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb January 31.
NIU Huskie guard Aaric Armstead (23) dives for a loose ball against Akron guard Antino Jackson (55) at The NIU Convocation Center in DeKalb January 31.

Trips to a pair of NCAA tournament qualifiers await the Northern Illinois men’s basketball team in the nonconference portion of the 2017-18 season as the school released its schedule Thursday.

The Huskies will head to Marquette on Dec. 18 to face the Golden Eagles, who were bounced in the first round last year against South Carolina.

It’s the teams’ first meeting since 1993.

On Dec. 4, they’ll face an Iowa State team that made it two rounds deep.

And that doesn’t include Mid-American Conference champion Kent State, who the Huskies play at home Jan. 2.

“We are excited about our 2017-18 schedule,” said NIU coach Mark Montgomery. “It is nice to open with a pair of home games before going to Florida for a tournament with a very competitive field. The nonconference schedule also includes tests against good teams from the Big Ten, Big East and Big 12, along with local rivals UIC and Chicago State.”

The season opens Nov. 10 against St. Francis, then four days later the Huskies host Green Bay before heading to Estero, Florida, for a tournament.

The conference season starts Jan. 2 at home against Kent State, and wraps up at the Convocation Center against Ball State.

The women’s schedule also was released Thursday. The Huskies start at home Nov. 4 against Benedictine and play only four nonconference home games. They start conference play Dec. 30 at Miami (Ohio) and conclude the regular season March 3 at home against Western Michigan.

In all, the Huskies play six games against in-state foes.

“We have an opportunity to play some great competition right here in the state of Illinois, which I think will always be a part of our schedule,” coach Lisa Carlsen said. “Then we sprinkle in some teams we aren’t as familiar with and get a chance to travel.”

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