MADISON - After advancing to the Final Four a season ago, Wisconsin basketball returns 81.8 percent of its scoring, 85.9 percent of its rebounding and 88.9 percent of its assists. They’ll need that production during another challenging nonconference schedule.
A team many are picking to win the Big Ten in 2015, Wisconsin will be testing itself early in a 13-game nonconference schedule that is highlighted by a home against Duke, trips to California, Marquette and Milwaukee and a challenging Battle 4 Atlantis tournament that could feature games against Florida and North Carolina.
“Every year it’s our goal to put together a difficult non-conference schedule that will get us ready for Big Ten play,” head coach Bo Ryan said in a statement. “Last season we played five teams in the non-conference (schedule that ended up winning their conference. I think this year’s slate will be another challenging one.”
The Badgers home schedule begins with the annual free Red/White Scrimmage on Sunday, Oct. 26. Wisconsin will host UW-Parkside in an exhibition game before tipping off the regular season at the Kohl Center against Northern Kentucky on Nov. 14.
UW will participate in the three-game Battle 4 Atlantis in The Bahamas from Nov. 26-28 in a talented field that includes North Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma, UCLA, Georgetown, Butler and the Badgers’ first-round opponent UAB.
Preseason top-5 pick Duke will visit the Kohl Center on Dec. 3 for the 2014 Big Ten/ACC Challenge. UW will then make back-to-back trips to Milwaukee to face rivals Marquette on Dec. 6 and Milwaukee on Dec. 10.
The Badgers will take another road trip to Berkeley to take on California on Dec. 22 to complete a home-and-home series that started in 2012-13. Wisconsin won the first matchup 81-56. The non-conference slate rounds out against the University of Buffalo on Dec. 28.
Wisconsin lost three seniors off its roster, the biggest hit being senior guard Ben Brust, who started all 38 games last season and finishes as the school’s all-time 3-point shooter. However, the Badgers return four starters in Frank Kaminsky (13.9 ppg), Sam Dekker (12.4), Traevon Jackson (10.7) and Josh Gasser (8.8), as well as key depth off the bench.
The Big Ten schedule is set to be announced in late August. In conference play, Wisconsin will host Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State and Purdue. Road trips include Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers.
Wisconsin 2014-15 Non-Conference ScheduleSUN. OCT. 26 RED/WHITE SCRIMMAGE WED. NOV. 5 UW-PARKSIDE (Exhibition) FRI. NOV. 14 NORTHERN KENTUCKY SUN. NOV. 16 UT-CHATTANOOGA WED. NOV. 19 GREEN BAY SAT. NOV. 22 Boise State
Battle 4 Atlantis – Paradise Island, The Bahamas (Butler, Florida, Georgetown, North Carolina, Oklahoma, UAB or UCLA)Wed. Nov. 26 vs. UAB Thu. Nov. 27 vs. Florida/Georgetown Fri. Nov. 28 vs. TBA WED. DEC. 3 DUKE (BIG TEN/ACC Challenge) Sat. Dec. 6 at Marquette Wed. Dec. 10 at Milwaukee SAT. DEC. 13 NICHOLLS STATE Mon. Dec. 22 at Cal SUN. DEC. 28 BUFFALO