The Badgers full 2016-17 basketball schedule has been announced. Here are five takeaways:
1. The Badgers play two Final Four teams from last year.
Wisconsin has back-to-back games against Oklahoma and Syracuse, both of which they played last season. The Badgers went 1-1 last year in those games, beating the Orange on the road and getting blown out in Oklahoma. Both games will be at the Kohl Center this year.
Both Syracuse and Oklahoma have rosters that are facing a lot of turnover from last year. Oklahoma lost Buddy Hield and Ryan Spangler from last year’s squad. Jordan Woodard will now headline the Sooners. Woodard averaged 13 PPG and 3.4 APG last year. Syracuse lost Malachi Richardson, Trevor Cooney, and Michael Gbinije. The trio were the Orange’s top three scorers from last year. Trying to replace all that scoring will be sophomore Tyler Lydon, who averaged 10 PPG during his freshman campaign, and Nebraska transfer Andrew White.
Syracuse and Oklahoma are both presumably at the bottom of the preseason top-25 or on the outside looking in.
2. The Big Ten schedule is unfavorable for the Badgers, but very doable.
The toughest part of the Big Ten schedule: The Badgers will play Sparty and Purdue on the road without getting a chance against against them in the Kohl Center. The Badgers dropped both games on the road against MSU and Purdue in 2015. Splitting these games would be big for Wisconsin.
The Badgers get Maryland and Iowa at home without having to play them on the road.
The Badgers will play OSU, Minnesota, Indiana, and Michigan twice.
3. The Badgers won’t be playing Milwaukee for the first time in 25 years.
Wisconsin and Milwaukee ended its 24 year streak of playing each other. Milwaukee upset the Badgers by one point last season, their first win against the Badgers in 23 years.
Greg Gard has mentioned that the Badgers will look to play Milwaukee and Green Bay only at home going forward. The Badgers will play at Marquette on December 10th and at home vs. Green Bay on December 14th.
4. The Maui Invitational will be an early look at how Wisconsin stacks up against the best in the nation.
The Badgers could possibly play Oregon and North Carolina, two teams who should be ranked in the top-10 to start the season. Oregon returns leading scorer Dillon Brooks, meanwhile North Carolina lost Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige, but return plenty of talent behind them.
Winning one or both of these games in November could help seeding in March.
5. The Big Ten Conference Tournament is moving to Washington D.C.
This will be the first time the Big Ten conference tournament will be on the East Coast. The Big Ten tournament has been held in Chicago or Indianapolis every other year of its existence. Badger fans normally travel well to the post-season tournament, but this year the extra distance may be a challenge. Maryland will be the de facto home team.