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Wisconsin vs. Eastern Illinois: how to watch, game preview and open thread

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It’s the first game of the men’s basketball season and it starts at ::checks schedule:: GOOD LORD, 9 P.M.!?!?

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 08 Eastern Illinois at Wisconsin Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Well, it’s finally here. The men’s college basketball season has been live for about six-ish hours and the No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers tip-off a few hours from now against the Eastern Illinois Panthers from the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC). The Panthers finished last year squarely in the middle of the conference at 17-15 overall (9-9 OVC).

There have already been a spate of cancellations and postponements in the college basketball world and, presumably, it is only going to continue to get worse. The Badgers are lucky as the furthest they have to travel in non-conference play is Milwaukee, but who knows how COVID-19 will affect the other teams they play, or how it will affect them in Madison. We just don’t know how this season will go.

Here is all of the info you’ll need to know for watching, streaming and listening to the game tonight, plus starting lineups, fun facts and your open thread.

We here at B5Q hope you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

How to watch/listen

TV: BTN, 9:00 p.m., CT, Christ Vosters, Ben Brust

Streaming: FOX Sports Go

Radio/Satellite: 1310 AM, Sirius/XM 195; Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas

Live stats: Here!

Arena: Kohl Center

Line: Wisconsin -20.5

KenPom Wisconsin win percentage: 96%

Fun facts (according to the media guides)

  • UW has won 21 of their last 22 home openers (back to 1998-99).
  • The Badgers begin the season ranked No. 7 in both the AP and Coaches polls, marking the second-highest preseason ranking in school history, trailing only the 2014-15 season when UW debuted at No. 3.
  • UW returns 77.5% of its minutes from last season as well as 78.7% of points, 83.6% of rebounds, 86.1% of assists, 79.7% of steals and 88.6% of blocks.
  • The Badgers lead the all-time series with the Panthers 6-1 and in their last meeting (Nov. 8 2019) Wisconsin won 65-52. Nate Reuvers had 14 points, 11 boards and nine blocks in that game.
  • With one block, Reuvers will take sole possession of third place on the all-time list for the Badgers. With 11 blocks (his career high is nine blocks in a game against Stanford and...EIU), Reuvers will have the most blocks in Wisconsin Badgers history.
  • EIU’s Mack Smith enters the 2020-21 season chasing history as the senior guard is the NCAA active leader in consecutive games with a made 3-pointer. Smith has made at least one 3-pointer in 81 straight games dating back to Jan. 6, 2018 at Eastern Kentucky. His streak ranks second all-time in NCAA Division I history with Cory Bradford (Illinois) holding the record at 88 games.
  • The Panthers have two Wisconsin natives on their team in seniors Deang Deang (Madison) and George Dixon (Milwaukee). They also have a player from Bamaku, Mali and a player from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Probable starters

Wisconsin

  • D’Mitrik Trice, 6-foot, redshirt senior, guard, No. 0
  • Aleem Ford, 6-foot-8 redshirt senior, forward, No. 2
  • Micah Potter, 6-foot-10, redshirt senior, center, No. 11
  • Brad Davison, 6-foot-4, senior, guard, No. 34
  • Nate Reuvers, 6-foot-11, senior, forward, No. 35

Eastern Illinois

  • Mack Smith, 6-foot-2, senior, guard, No. 3
  • Marvin Johnson, 6-foot-4, senior, guard, No. 4
  • Sammy Friday IV, 6-foot-9, grad transfer, forward, No. 20
  • Josiah Wallace, 6-foot-4, senior, guard, No. 22
  • George Dixon, 6-foot-5, senior, forward, No. 35