It’s shaping up to be a busy — and competitive — opening month to the 2019-20 season for the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team.
The Badgers will face Saint Mary’s on Nov. 5 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It will be the second game at that venue in a span of seven seasons for UW, which opened the 2013-14 season with an 86-75 win over St. John’s in Sioux Falls.
The Gaels, who play in the West Coast Conference, return several key players from a team that finished 22-12 and played in the NCAA tournament last season. Saint Mary’s returns its top three scorers from that group: senior guard Jordan Ford (21.1 ppg), junior forward Malik Fitts (15.2) and senior guard Tanner Krebs (8.9).
UW also announced Tuesday that its annual game against Marquette will be played on Nov. 17 at the Kohl Center. That’s the earliest meeting between the in-state rivals since they opened the 1997-98 season at the UW Field House, a 65-60 victory for Marquette.
This year’s game will be played on a Sunday, but UW and Marquette won’t have to compete for viewers with the Green Bay Packers, who have a bye week that weekend.
In last season's meeting vs. Marquette, the Badgers, then ranked No. 12 in the nation, fell 74-69 in overtime at the Fiserv Forum on Dec. 8, 2018, despite senior Ethan Happ turning in a strong performance with 34 points and 11 rebounds.
UW has a 67-58 advantage over Marquette in the all-time series, which dates back to 1917 and has been played in all but one season (1984-85) since the 1958-59 campaign.
This season's meeting will be the 126th between the teams, who have split the last 10 matchups.
The Badgers’ November schedule also includes a trip to New York for the Legends Classic in Brooklyn. The four-team field also includes Auburn, New Mexico and Richmond, though pairings have yet to be announced.
The two other previously announced high-profile games on UW’s non-conference slate come in December, and both are on the road. North Carolina State will host the Badgers in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Dec. 4, and UW will travel to Tennessee on Dec. 28.