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Wisconsin men's basketball: Badgers' Big Ten Conference schedule released

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David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

It's finally here.

The Big Ten Conference released its 2015-16 men's basketball schedule on Thursday evening. The Wisconsin Badgers will play 18 conference games this upcoming season with the Big Ten jam-packed with incredible talent. Home court advantages will prove to be crucial and could be the difference between playing in the NCAA Tournament, or watching it from the couch. How will the Badgers fare without departing forwards Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky, and can they repeat the success of the past two seasons?

Without further ado, here's who the Badgers will face in conference play.

The biggest tests of the season will be against Purdue, Indiana and Maryland. All three teams will bring Top 25, if not, Top 10 talent to the floor. The Badgers will face the Boilermakers (Dec. 29), Hoosiers (Jan. 5) and Terps (Jan. 9) in three out of their first four conference games. Luckily though, Wisconsin will get a shot at each team both at home and on the road, along with Michigan State (Jan. 17 at home and Feb. 18 at the Spartans) and Illinois (Jan. 21/Feb. 21).

That's not the case for their other eight games. The one-time match-ups for the Badgers are:

1. vs. Rutgers (Jan. 2)

2. at Northwestern (Jan. 12)

3. at Penn State (Jan. 21)

4. vs. Ohio State (Feb. 4)

5. vs. Nebraska (Feb. 10)

6. at Iowa (Feb. 24)

7. vs Michigan (Feb. 28)

8. at Minnesota (Mar. 2)

As a whole, this season will be a thriller. It is unfortunate that Wisconsin faces both Purdue and Maryland at home in the first four games of the season with the students on winter break. On the other hand, Wisconsin is fortunate only having two road games stretches of more than just one game. Four of the six road trips are only a one game stand for the Badgers.

Even though it is still only August, let the hype begin for the 2015-16 basketball season!

Here's the official press release from the Wisconsin athletic department:

Complete 2015-16 men's basketball schedule announced


Badgers begin Big Ten play at home vs. Purdue on Dec. 29

Aug. 27, 2015

Online at UWBadgers.com: http://www.uwbadgers.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/082715aaa.html

MADISON, Wis. - The Big Ten Conference announced the complete 2015-16 league schedule Thursday, including the 18 Big Ten games for Wisconsin. The Badgers open their conference slate at home vs. Purdue on Dec. 29. Times and television assignments will be revealed at a later date.

Wisconsin will have a home-and-home series with Purdue, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan State and Illinois. UW faces Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, and Rutgers only at the Kohl Center. Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern and Penn State will only be met on the road.

Postseason play begins March 9-13 with the 2016 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. With 14 Big Ten teams, the tournament begins with two games on Wednesday, March 9, three games on Thursday, the quarterfinals on Friday, the semifinals on Saturday and then the championship on Sunday, March 13.

Wisconsin is coming off back-to-back trips to the Final Four, including reaching the national championship game last season. The Badgers won both the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles last season. Since Bo Ryan took over as head coach at UW, the Badgers own the best conference record in the Big Ten, going 172-68 (.717) over the last 14 seasons.

The Badgers have finished among the top four in the Big Ten for each of Ryan's 14 seasons in Madison. That streak of 14-straight top-four finishes is the longest in Big Ten history, recently surpassing Purdue's run of 13-consecutive top-four finishes from 1920-32. The Badgers have won 10 or more conference games in 13 of the last 14 seasons, including a mark of 16-2 last season.

BIG TEN SCHEDULE NOTES
Dec. 29 vs. Purdue (Kohl Center) and at March 5/6 at Purdue (Mackey Arena)
Wisconsin and Purdue will meet twice ... the Badgers defeated the Boilermakers twice last season, first in Madison during the regular season and in the semifinals of the 2015 Big Ten Tournament in Chicago ... Ryan-led teams are 12-10 against the Boilermakers.

Jan. 2 vs. Rutgers (Kohl Center)
Only 2016 meeting ... Wisconsin is 3-1 all-time against Rutgers after the Scarlet Knights earned their first-ever win against UW last season in New Jersey ... Rutgers has played only once before in Madison, which was a game the Badgers won 55-43 in 2003.

Jan. 5 at Indiana (Assembly Hall) and Jan. 26 vs. Indiana (Kohl Center)
Wisconsin and Indiana will meet twice ... Bo Ryan-led teams are 7-3 all-time at Assembly Hall ... UW held a five-game win streak at Assembly Hall before seeing it snapped in 2014 ... UW owns a 13-game home winning streak vs. Indiana dating back to 2000 ... overall, the Badgers have won 14 of the last 15 meetings with the Hoosiers.

Jan. 9 vs. Maryland (Kohl Center) and Feb. 13 at Maryland (XFINITY Center)
Wisconsin and Maryland will meet twice ... Wisconsin is 5-3 all-time against Maryland, as UW fell on the road last season against the Terps ... UW is 1-2 all-time in games played in College Park ... first trip to Madison for the Terps since 2004 ... Maryland has never won in Madison with a 0-2 all-time record.

Jan. 12 at Northwestern (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
Only 2016 meeting ... Wisconsin won the lone game between the two last year at Northwestern ... the Badgers are 18-5 all-time against the Wildcats under Ryan, including wins in each of their last five trips to Evanston ... all-time series for games played in Evanston tied 39-39.

Jan. 17 vs. Michigan State (Kohl Center) and Feb. 18 at Michigan State (Breslin Center)
Wisconsin and Michigan State will meet twice ... both the Badgers and Spartans made the Final Four last season ... UW won both meetings with MSU a year ago, first winning in Madison and then again in the 2015 Big Ten Tournament championship game ... first trip for Wisconsin to East Lansing since 2013 ... the Badgers seek their first win in East Lansing since 2004 ... Ryan holds a 16-12 record vs. Michigan State.

Jan. 21 at Penn State (Bryce Jordan Center)
Only 2016 meeting ... Wisconsin swept the season series with Penn State last season winning both at home and on the road ... the Badgers have won 20 of the last 23 meetings overall with the Nittany Lions ... dating back to 2005, UW is 10-1 at University Park.

Jan. 31 at Illinois (State Farm Center) and Feb. 21 vs. Illinois (Kohl Center)
Wisconsin and Illinois will meet twice ... UW won the lone meeting last season in Madison ... with three-straight wins at Illinois, the Badgers are 6-2 in Champaign since 2007 ... the Badgers have won eight-straight games against the Illini overall.

Feb. 4 vs. Ohio State (Kohl Center)
Only 2016 meeting ... Wisconsin won the lone meeting last season at Ohio State with a commanding 72-48 victory ... Ryan holds a 9-2 record against Ohio State at home.

Feb. 10 vs. Nebraska (Kohl Center)
Only 2016 meeting ... Wisconsin swept the season series last season ... UW is 6-2 against NEB all-time in games played in Madison ... the Huskers have not won in Madison since 1983 ... Wisconsin is 5-1 against Nebraska since the Huskers joined the Big Ten in 2011.

Feb. 24 at Iowa (Carver-Hawkeye Arena)
Only 2016 meeting ... Wisconsin swept the season series last season ... the Badgers have won five-straight games against the Hawkeyes ... UW has won 18 of the last 23 meetings dating back to 2003 ... UW has won its last two games at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Feb. 28 vs. Michigan (Kohl Center)
Only 2016 meeting ... UW is 20-6 against Michigan under Ryan, including a series sweep last season ... with two more wins last season, the Badgers have won 19 of the last 23 games against the Wolverines ... in Madison, Ryan-led teams are 10-1 vs. Michigan.

March 2 at Minnesota (Williams Arena)
Only 2016 meeting ... Wisconsin swept the season series last season ... the border rivals will meet for the 196th time ... with a 76-63 victory at Williams Arena last season, the Badgers won their first game in Minneapolis since 2012.

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