It’s shaping up to be a busy and difficult opening month for the 2019-20 season for the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team.
The Badgers will play Saint Mary’s to open the season on November 5th at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It will be the second game at that venue for UW in a span of seven seasons. The Badgers opened up the 2013-14 season at the Pentagon defeating St. John’s 86-75.
The Gaels, who won the WCC Tournament last season and played in the NCAA Tournament, return several key players from a team that finished 22-12. SMC returns its top three scorers from that group: senior guard Jordan Ford (21.1 ppg), junior forward Malik Fitts (15.2 ppg), and senior guard Tanner Krebs (8.9 ppg).
Wisconsin also announced today that its annual game against in-state rival Marquette will be played November 17th at the Kohl Center. That’s the earliest meeting between the rivals since they opened the 1997-98 season at the UW Field House, a 65-60 victory for Marquette.
This years game will be played on a Sunday. My guess is they set the date because the Green Bay Packers have a bye that week so they won’t have to compete for viewers.
In last season’s game against Marquette, the Badgers who were ranked 12th at the time, fell 74-69 in overtime at the Fiserv Forum on December 8th, 2018, despite Ethan Happ having a strong performance with 34 points and 11 rebounds.
UW has a 67-58 advantage in the all-time series against Marquette, which dates back to 1917 and has played all but one season (1984-85) since the 1958-59 campaign.
This season’s meeting will be the 126th between the two teams, who have split the last 10 matchups.
The Badgers will also be in the Legends Classic in Brooklyn on November 25th and 26th. Plus, the early Big Ten games haven’t been announced yet. UW had a B1G game in November last season.
The two other previously announced high-profile games on UW’s non-conference slate will come in December and both are on the road. North Carolina State will host the Badgers on December 4th in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. UW will also travel to Knoxville to play Tennessee on December 28th.