When we last left the Wisconsin Badgers schedule, they were coming off of contests against the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Iowa Hawkeyes. Both of these are winnable games, but Iowa has made significant strides under coach Fran McCaffery. With the steady presence of Melsahn Basabe at forward, Iowa could threaten an upset.
Up next is a home game against the Michigan St. Spartans, which will definitely be on national television (5:00 PM EST on ESPN2). Since Bo Ryan took over as the head coach, Wisconsin has never lost to Michigan State in the Kohl Center. After a home tilt with MSU, the Badgers will then hit the road for contests against the Michigan Wolverines and Purdue Boilermakers. Neither Michigan nor Purdue will travel to Madison this year.
Last year's Wisconsin team got a miraculous win in Ann Arbor, as G Josh Gasser hit a bank-shot three for the win as time expired. If you know a lot about Wisconsin basketball, you know that they almost never win in Mackey, and, yes, that is where Wisconsin heads after taking on the Wolverines. If the Badgers can salvage a 1-1 road trip (I do not expect a Wisconsin win in Mackey at all), they'll be in good position for a two-game home stand. The first game will seal their season series with Nebraska (who they opened Big Ten play against) and the second game will be Wisconsin's only face-off with Northwestern.
After games against Nebraska and Northwestern, Wisconsin returns to the road to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini, who have really had the Badgers' number of late. None of these road games are to be taken for granted, and I fully expect Bruce Weber to give Wisconsin a run for their money. Four days after taking on Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, the Badgers return home to take on the Indiana Hoosiers.
It's safe to say the Hoosiers do not have good memories of Jordan Taylor; Taylor's 38 point outburst in Assembly Hall came close to shattering the all-time record for points scored by an opposing player. This will be Wisconsin's only game against the Hoosiers. After taking on IU, the Badgers hit the road for State College, where they look to avenge the previous year's debacle in the Bryce Jordan Center. Ed Dechellis is no longer head coach of the Nittany Lions, and prolific guard Talor Battle exhausted his eligibility while dragging Penn State to an NCAA berth. This is likely the only "should-win" road game for the Badgers in conference play.
Following their road contest against Penn State, the Badgers return home to take on the Buckeyes...and frankly, I don't know what to make of Ohio State. They lost an enormous amount of talent with the graduations of Jon Diebler, Dallas Lauderdale, and David Lighty. While Jared Sullinger returns, Thad Matta has never won in the Kohl Center in his tenure at Ohio State, and Ohio State's perimeter shooting could suffer massively with Jon Diebler's ridiculous 3-point skills now on the Portland Trailblazers.
Bo Ryan's boys will once again head off on the road for 4 of their next 5 games; this time taking on Minnesota and Michigan State. Aside from the road kicks at Purdue and North Carolina early in the year, these games figure to be Wisconsin's toughest of the year. Bo is 2-6 in the Breslin Center and Minnesota has been an extremely tough out for Wisconsin of late. The Badgers take on Penn State in the Kohl Center (where Penn State has come up with a string of L's), before traveling to Iowa City for their second game against the Hawkeyes. After Iowa, the Badgers head to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes in Value City Arena.
The Badgers will close the regular season against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the Kohl Center, and then seal it outright with a game against the pesky Illini, who have managed to trip Wisconsin up in the Kohl Center time and again.
at Penn State
at Michigan State
at Ohio State