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Examining Wisconsin's 2014-15 Big Ten Schedule

It's Christmas morning for Big Ten basketball fans. What did the Badgers find under their tree?

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

With 3 games remaining in the conference schedule, Wisconsin stands 23-5, with a 10-5 record in the Big Ten. That puts them at third in the conference at this point, and barring upsets against Penn State, Purdue, and Nebraska (not as unlikely as you'd think), they should finish third. Wisconsin had a pretty tough conference schedule this season, with double-plays against tough teams like Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, and Minnesota. But things are looking up for the Badgers next year.

Here's the official list from the Wisconsin Basketball Twitter account:

Got all that? Good.

So for 2014-15, Wisconsin's double-plays will be Iowa, Minnesota, Penn State, Nebraska, and Northwestern. That's reeeaaally lucky. Don't get me wrong - all of those teams are good, and some will only get better. Iowa will suffer the blow of losing Roy Devyn Marble and Melsahn Basabe, but they are deep and well-coached. This isn't a one-year wonder for the Hawkeyes. Minnesota will graduate Austin Hollins and Malik Smith, but Deandre Mathieu and Andre Hollins will keep the Gopher backcourt rolling. Penn State is bidding adieu to Tim Frazier, but that's about it. Same with Drew Crawford of Northwestern and Ray Gallegos of Nebraska. All I'm saying is that while these teams are losing some top-flight talents, the arrow points up on each of these teams.

With that being said, let's all take a quick dance break that the Badgers will play Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State only once.

(via imgur.com)

That's a huge victory for the Badgers, especially since they'll have high expectations next season. If Dekker stays, the only contributor they lose this season is Ben Brust. While it's certainly up in the air as to what Dekker will do, I'm inclined to think he stays, especially if they don't make a deep run in the tournament.

Heading on the road to Michigan and Ohio State is always challenging, but I'm particularly excited about the Badgers heading to Maryland. Maryland is looking for a new Big Ten rival, and I think the annual competition between these two schools could burgeon into a must-see matchup.

So, yay! Next year's Big Ten slate won't be that bad. But the non-conference...

UNC, UCLA, and Florida? Nice.

Next season's going to be lots of fun.