Wisconsin Basketball just announced a home and home series with Tennessee for 2019 and 2020.
The Wisconsin Basketball twitter account officially announced a home and home series with the Tennessee Volunteers, who currently sits at number three in both the AP and Coaches Poll.
This is obviously a significant announcement considering Tennessee is playing its best basketball in about a decade. Next season the Badgers head to Tennessee for the first leg of the series. Although the Volunteers will be without current senior Admiral Schofield, the Vols should still be a formidable program.
What this does for the Wisconsin Basketball program is establish a precedent that Greg Gard and the Badgers are in favor of proving themselves in the regular season against quality opponents. Many big-time programs choose to schedule favorable home and neutral site games until conference play begins to rack up easy wins, but Bucky won’t be one of them.
The 2020 matchup is especially interesting because of how early in the season it is. Both teams will still be sorting things out by the time that game rolls around, but it will be a great chance for the Badgers to be showcased on the national stage. Very few big matchups will be going on in early November. For reference, the Maui Invitational tournament didn’t begin until November 19th of this year.
Wisconsin will most notably be without Ethan Happ next year, but will still field a competitive team. Brad Davison and D’Mitrick Trice are the two leaders of the team that will be back for both legs of this series. Wisconsin is younger than Tennessee at the top of the depth chart so while the 2019 game may be a coin flip, early reads are that the Badgers will have the advantage at home in 2020.
As exciting as this series announcement is, both programs still have a lot to look forward to this year before we even get to the 2019-2020 season. If the chips fall right, maybe the Badgers could see the Vols in the NCAA Tournament as a nice appetizer for what’s to come.