MADISON (WKOW) -- From UW Athletics:
The Wisconsin men's basketball team knows that there will be many obstacles on their road to repeating as Big Ten champions. Now those obstacles have names.
The Badgers' 2008-09 schedule was released Wednesday and features 18 home games and a minimum of eight games vs. teams that appeared in the NCAA tournament last season.
Wisconsin could also see up to two other 2008 NCAA tournament participants in the Paradise Jam Tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which includes postseason contestants Connecticut, Miami (Fla.) and San Diego.
Excluding the three games the Badgers will play in the Paradise Jam Tournament, 28 of UW's 29 games are scheduled to be broadcast on national television. That includes at least 15 Big Ten Network games, at least eight games on the ESPN family of networks and four wildcard games that can be shown on either CBS, ESPN, ESPN2 or the Big Ten Network.
Wisconsin will also appear on CBS when they travel to West Lafayette, Ind. on Jan 11 for a pivotal game vs. Purdue. Television plans for the Badgers' game vs. UW-Milwaukee on Nov. 29 have yet to be announced.
"Our schedule has us playing a lot of teams that are high in the RPI and we're looking forward to the challenge, especially with a young team," head coach Bo Ryan said. "We have 11 underclassmen on this team, with five freshmen and six sophomores and this schedule will be a test for our group."
UW begins the season with a pair of exhibition games, vs. Augustana College on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. and against UW-Whitewater on Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. Both those games will be televised by the Big Ten Network. The Network will also broadcast the Badgers' first two regular season games from the Kohl Center on Nov. 16 vs. Long Beach State (3 p.m.) and Nov. 18 vs. SIU-Edwardsville (7 or 8 p.m.).
Following the Paradise Jam Tournament, Wisconsin will navigate a tricky stretch beginning with a home game vs. UW-Milwaukee on Nov. 29. The Badgers then play back-to-back road games, first at Virginia Tech in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge on Dec. 1 and then at Marquette on Dec. 6. Both road tilts will be televised on the ESPN family of networks with the Virginia Tech game at 6 p.m. on ESPN and the game with Marquette on ESPNU at 8:30 p.m.
The non-conference schedule wraps up with four consecutive home games vs. Idaho State (Dec. 9) and UW-Green Bay (Dec. 13) before playing 2008 NCAA Tournament qualifiers Coppin State on Dec. 20 and a Dec. 23rd match-up with Texas on ESPN2.
For the second straight year Wisconsin's Big Ten schedule opens in Ann Arbor, Mich., with a New Year's Eve game vs. the Wolverines at 1 p.m. on ESPN2. The Badgers then tip off the new year with home games vs. Penn State on Jan. 3 and Northwestern on Jan. 7.
The first of two games with Purdue comes on Jan. 11 when UW travels to West Lafayette. Game time will be either 12:30 p.m. or 4 p.m. That begins a stretch of road matches in four of the Badgers' next six games. Minnesota comes to the Kohl Center on Jan. 15 before Wisconsin plays at Iowa on Jan. 21 and at Illinois on Jan. 24, in a game that will air on ESPN.
Wisconsin will get the chance to host the Boilermakers on ESPN on Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. Wisconsin travels to Northwestern on Jan. 31 before Illinois comes to Madison on Feb. 5 for an ESPN or ESPN2 showdown. The Big Network will televise Wisconsin's road trip to Penn State on Feb. 8 and their home match with Iowa on Feb. 11.
The Badgers will play Michigan State and Ohio State just once in the 2008-09 regular season. The Buckeyes will be at the Kohl Center on Feb. 14 for an 8 p.m. game on ESPN. A UW at Indiana game on Feb. 19 is sandwiched in before Wisconsin visits Michigan State on Feb. 22 for their only game with the Spartans.
Wisconsin plays three regular-season games in March, at home against Michigan and Indiana and at Minnesota. The Michigan game will be played on March 1 while the game at the Gophers will be on either March 3, 4 or 5. The Badgers' season finale vs. Indiana will take place on either March 7 or 8. The 2009 Big Ten Tournament runs from March 12-15 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.