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Long-awaited Badgers men's basketball 2020-21 schedule includes Christmas Day game at Michigan State
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UW MEN'S BASKETBALL

Long-awaited Badgers men's basketball 2020-21 schedule includes Christmas Day game at Michigan State

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Wisconsin-Moving Ahead Basketball

Brad Davison is one of four returning starters for the No. 7 Badgers, who open the 2020-21 season on Nov. 25 against Eastern Illinois at the Kohl Center.

A week before the start of the 2020-21 season, the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team finally has a schedule in place.

How many COVID-19 road blocks will stand in the Badgers’ way over the next months remains to be seen, but at least they have a path that begins next week when they host Eastern Illinois on Wednesday at the Kohl Center.

The highlight of a 26-game slate that is expected to grow by one in the near future? A showdown at No. 13 Michigan State on Christmas Day.

“I’m happy to finally have a schedule put together and grateful to those who put a lot of time and effort into something none of us have ever navigated before,” UW coach Greg Gard said in a statement, singling out director of basketball operations Marc VandeWettering in particular.

“We have six non-conference games on the schedule right now, but we are still looking to add one additional home opponent in the month of December. Overall, with our non-conference schedule we tried to create the safest environment possible and having so many games at home allows us to have a little more control over some of the variables. As we all know, even this schedule could be fluid given the times we’re in. But today is confirmation that opening day is just a week away and I know our players will be excited to get on the floor and start playing games.”

UW is scheduled to play six non-conference games before jumping into a 20-game Big Ten slate that, once again, figures to be a grind.

The Big Ten has seven teams ranked in the preseason Associated Press Top 25, including three in the first 10. The highest-ranked team, No. 5 Iowa, wasn’t even picked to win the conference in poll of 28 beat writers. Instead, the media’s favorite is No. 8 Illinois, with No. 7 UW predicted to finish third.

Michigan State, No. 23 Ohio State, No. 24 Rutgers and No. 25 Michigan are also ranked.

UW plays home-and-home games against seven conference opponents: Nebraska, Maryland, Penn State, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State and Illinois.

Its six one-play opponents: Minnesota, Ohio State and Indiana at home; Michigan State, Purdue and Rutgers on the road.

That matchup against the Spartans is one of four Big Ten games scheduled on Christmas Day.

If the Big Ten race comes down to the wire, the Badgers have a difficult stretch run to navigate: home against Illinois on Feb. 27 followed by road trips to Purdue on March 2 and Iowa on March 7.

UW’s non-conference slate includes previously announced games at Marquette on Dec. 4 and against Louisville five days later at the Kohl Center, a game that is part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Other non-conference highlights include a Dec. 1 game against UW-Green Bay, coached by Will Ryan, the son of former Badgers coach Bo Ryan. On Dec. 16, the Badgers welcome Northern Iowa, which returns several key players from a team that went 25-6 overall and won the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title.

Check out the Badgers’ 2020-21 schedule below:

(Home games in upper case)

Nov. 25 – EASTERN ILLINOIS

Nov. 27 – ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF

Dec. 1 – UW-GREEN BAY

Dec. 4 – at Marquette

Dec. 9 – LOUISVILLE

Dec. 16 – NORTHERN IOWA

Dec. 21 – NEBRASKA

Dec. 25 – at Michigan State

Dec. 28 – MARYLAND

Dec. 31 – MINNESOTA

Jan. 3 – at Penn State

Jan. 7 – INDIANA

Jan. 12 – at Michigan

Jan. 15 – at Rutgers

Jan. 23 – OHIO STATE

Jan. 27 – NORTHWESTERN

Jan. 30 – at Maryland

Feb. 2 – PENN STATE

Feb. 6 – at Illinois

Feb. 11 – at Nebraska

Feb. 14 – MICHIGAN

Feb. 18 – IOWA

Feb. 21 – at Northwestern

Feb. 27 – ILLINOIS

March 2 – at Purdue

March 7 – at Iowa


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