Badgers Get Rematch with Virginia

Ben Brust (Moebius/13)

Adding another challenging game to an already difficult nonconference schedule, the Big Ten announced Wednesday that Wisconsin basketball will play at Virginia this December in the annual ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

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MADISON - A little over a year after being upset at home, the Wisconsin men's basketball team will look to return the favor against Tony Bennett.

Announced by the Big Ten Conference Wednesday, the Badgers will head to Charlottesville, VA, to take on Virginia on December 4 in the annual ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Times and television will be announced.

The Badgers are 6-8 all-time in the Challenge and are tied for the second-most wins of any Big Ten team in the event, but the Badgers have lost their last two games in the event and are 1-6 in true road games. Virginia has a three-game winning streak in the Challenge, is 8-5 in the event and is 2-1 all-time against Wisconsin.

The Badgers are 20-12 all-time vs. members of the ACC. Under Bo Ryan, Wisconsin is 9-8 vs. ACC foes, including wins in six of its last eight meetings.

Still reeling from the injury to junior point guard Josh Gasser, the Badgers suffer first home nonconference loss in the month of November at the Kohl Center since Nov. 14, 1997 when Virginia beat UW, 60-54, on November 28.

In an evenly-matched game between two similar teams that saw five ties and six lead changes, Virginia held Wisconsin to 38.2 percent shooting, didn't give up any fast break points and held the Badgers to five free throws attempts.

The key to the game was the rebounding, as Virginia grabbed 36 rebounds, including 10 off the double-double from then-junior Akil Mitchell, and limited Wisconsin to only 25.

"(They) killed us," said UW coach Bo Ryan after the game. "Those guys ought to get stars like we used to get in kindergarten when we did something right."

Then-junior Ben Brust finished with a team-best 15 points, adding four rebounds in 37 minutes of action for Wisconsin while then-junior guard Joe Harris scored a game-high 22 points to lead Virginia.

Harris returns to the Cavaliers (23-12), who finished in a tie for fourth in the ACC but missed the NCAA tournament after falling in the ACC quarterfinals. Virginia made it to the third round of the NIT before falling at home to Iowa.

Wisconsin (23-12) will need to replace all three senior starters in the front court, but are expected to have Gasser back at full strength along with five incoming freshmen.

Next season's matchup promises to be a defensive showcase as Virginia and Wisconsin finished fifth and seventh, respectively, in the country last season in scoring defense. The Badgers yielded just 55.9 points per game, while the Cavaliers gave up only 55.6 points per contest.

The ACC won the first 10 Challenges, but the Big Ten is unbeaten in the last four after last season's inter-conference duel ended in a tie.

In addition to playing Virginia, Wisconsin will host Marquette, Florida and a pair of games as part of 2013 Cancun Challenge before heading to Mexico for two contests on November 26 and 27. The rest of UW's nonconference schedule will be released in the summer.

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