The path to the Big Ten championship will begin in an usual place for the Wisconsin Badgers. On Friday night they will play the St. John’s Red Storm in a regular season opener not only for the two teams, but for the newly built Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Opening in September of this year, the $19 million complex has a new school feel with a very old school look. The court is like something from the movie “Hoosiers” and although there is a standard digital game clock, there is also a throwback circular hand clock like something from the 50’s and 60’s. But don’t worry people, for those concerned, yes there is a high-def video boards.
Another interesting fact that Badgers fans will appreciate: The CEO of Sanford Health, proprietor of the Sanford Pentagon, is Kelby Krabbenhoft whose son Joe played under Bo Ryan. And although the Badgers give up a home game they do not go back to Madison empty handed. Sanford Health will give the Badgers $260,000 to cover lost revenue from missing a home game at the Kohl Center.
This is a big opportunity for the Badgers basketball team. Bo Ryan looks to open up another season with a victory Friday night, although Steve Lavin’s St. John’s will not be a pushover. The Red Storm are picked to finish fifth in the new-look Big East conference and will be an early test for the Badgers.
Associate head coach of the Badgers Greg Gard had this to say about the early season challenge:
We’re going to get tested early, right out of the gate. There won’t be a lot of time for warming up, so to speak.
After their tilt against St. John’s, the Badgers open up the Kohl Center with one of the top teams in the country the Florida Gators. After that the Badgers travel to UW-Green Bay and at the end of the month Bucky will take part in the Cancun Challenge.
Friday night’s game at the Sanford Pentagon against the Red Storm can be seen on the Big Ten Network, with tip-off slated for 6:00 p.m. CT.