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Wisconsin basketball's Red/White Scrimmage set for Oct. 26

Practice begins today for a Badger team looking to return to the Final Four this season.

Tom Pennington

The public's first look a this year's Big Ten preseason favorite will come on Sunday, Oct. 26 at 1 p.m. when Wisconsin's annual Red/White Scrimmage takes place at the Kohl Center.

Anticipation is at an all-time high. The Badgers return seven of their eight rotation players from a year ago, when the team went 30-8 en route to Bo Ryan's first ever Final Four appearance. Student season tickets sold out in five minutes. Overall, 11 players return to a team that will be most certainly earn its highest ranking ever in a preseason AP poll when it is announced.

The Red/White Scrimmage is a free event featuring a post-game autograph session with players. It gives fans without access to regular season tickets a chance to see the team play, as well as giving hardcore fans their most extended look at the new freshmen in most cases, especially if they plan to redshirt.

Wisconsin natives Matt Ferris and T.J. Schlundt join the team as walk-ons this year, joining consensus three-star forward Ethan Happ, a first-team all-state selection from Rockridge (Ill.), in the freshman class of 2014.

After completing the running of "The Hill" last month, Friday marks the first day of practice for the Badgers, thanks to a rule change prior to last season which allows coaches to start practicing 42 days before their first game. The NCAA allows 30 practices between now and the season opener.

Wisconsin opens the 2014-15 season on Friday, Nov. 14 at home against Northern Kentucky at 8 p.m. The Norse were 9-21 last season, but lost no seniors in the offseason. The Badgers will also play an exhibition game versus Division II UW-Parkside on Wednesday, Nov. 5 to tune up for the opener.

This season's schedule is highlighted by an early trip to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, hosting Duke in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and road games at both new conference members, Rutgers and Maryland.