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Wisconsin Badgers to host Milwaukee Bucks preseason practices, game

The best in Wisconsin basketball comes together.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Bucks are coming back to Madison.

At a joint press conference on Monday held with the Wisconsin Badgers, the teams announced the Bucks will hold a training camp in the state’s capital and play a preseason game at the Kohl Center this fall.

Head coach Bo Ryan and athletic director Barry Alvarez were on hand for the Badgers. Head coach Jason Kidd, general manager John Hammond and broadcaster Jon McGlocklin represented the Bucks.

The training camp will be held at the Nicholas Johnson Pavilion and begin Sept. 29, going for four days. The Bucks will then return Oct. 20 for a preseason game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Alvarez said he was "thrilled" about the Badgers' partnership with the Bucks, as well as hosting an NBA training camp and exhibition game.

"It gives our students and local residents the opportunity to see up close and personal what the Bucks are all about," Alvarez said. "I can’t say enough about how impressed with the great job of Jason Kidd. It’s obvious they’re an up-and-coming team in the NBA and should be very exciting."

The Badgers send their marching band to Lambeau Field annually to perform at Green Bay Packers games and the men’s basketball team has thrown out the first pitch at a Milwaukee Brewers game the past two seasons. The announcement Monday is just another progression in the university’s commitment to the state.

"One of the things I’ve always believed in is the relationship we have with the pro teams in the state," Alvarez said. "We don’t compete with them, we work with them."

The Bucks representatives also spoke highly of Madison and the Badgers.

"The passion for basketball in Madison is unparalleled, not only throughout the state but across the country," Hammond said. "We’re excited to bring Bucks basketball to the capital and reconnect with the amazing fans at the Kohl Center."

Wisconsin basketball’s success -- over the past two seasons in particular -- is what the Bucks are looking to copy.

"We’re trying to build to a championship level that they’ve been at in the last few years. That’s our goal."

Ryan, who is in his final season as Wisconsin's head coach, added he was "like a kid in the candy store" about the Bucks coming to campus.

"Our players will get a chance to see a first-class outfit like yours," Ryan said, addressing Kidd and Hammond, "and have them come here and spend time around our players, our students, our residents, our people here."

During the four practice days for the Bucks, NCAA rules allow the Badgers to get two hours of workouts in per week. Wisconsin, a relatively inexperienced group this upcoming season, will hope to take some things away from another young team that has exceeded expectations.

"The players can talk and interact that way," Ryan said. "There’s nothing illegal about that. I know we’re under a lot of rules, but these guys can talk to one another and I’m sure they’ll have some things in common and some things they’ll learn from one another."

Players won’t be the only ones interacting with and learning from one another during that time. Ryan was a finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year award last season and Kidd finished third in NBA Coach of the Year voting.

"I think Jason and Bo will have a relationship. I think they’ll both benefit one another with the time they spend together. It’s a win-win," Alvarez said.

The events will mark the Bucks' first full-team appearance in Madison since 1999. Former Bucks star and current broadcaster Jon McGlocklin mentioned the two teams’ histories go far back to his playing days. In the team’s first season in 1968 and 1969, he said, the Bucks played many of their games at the UW Fieldhouse. In 1971, the Fieldhouse played host to three playoff games, as well.

Kidd added that one of the Bucks practices will be open to the public.

When the Bucks and the Timberwolves take the floor, Badgers fans will see some familiar faces from recent seasons. Minnesota selected Kentucky center Karl-Anthony Towns with the first pick in the draft and traded up for former Duke point guard Tyus Jones. They also feature former Purdue forward Robbie Hummel and former Michigan State forward Adreian Payne on the current roster.

Wisconsin’s current roster even features players older than multiple current Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tyler Ennis, Rashad Vaughn, Jabari Parker and Damien Inglis are all no older than 20.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Aug. 5.