When planning out the Marquette men’s basketball non-conference schedule every summer, the safest bet has always been the game against Wisconsin. It’s been on an early December Saturday every year since the 2002-03, and has in fact been the Saturday before Marquette’s final exams, wherever that ended up falling.
That won’t be the case in 2019-20.
As the home team for this year’s game, Wisconsin announced the date for this coming season’s encounter on Tuesday morning: Sunday, November 17th, with tip-off set for Noon Central on FS1.
That’s the earliest scheduled meeting since the 1997-98 season. That year, Marquette opened the campaign with a 65-60 road win over the Badgers. It’s just the second time since the 1993-94 season where the two teams have not met in December.
According to the official MU confirmation/announcement, the scheduling change from the seemingly traditional spot was done to work things out relative to both teams’ non-conference slates. I can’t speak to Wisconsin’s schedule at all, but I suspect this might be relative to Marquette’s trip to Manhattan to play Kansas State this coming year. That game will be part of the Big East/Big 12 challenge series, so MU has to go along with whatever schedule the other nine games are using.
This does mean that Marquette will play two Big Ten teams in the span of five days. Purdue is coming to Fiserv Forum on November 13th as part of the Gavitt Games series. Unless MU squeezes in a Friday night game, the Purdue and Wisconsin games will be back-to-back on the schedule as well.
There is an added bonus to slotting this game in at noon on a November Sunday, by the way. Per Paint Touches Editor Emeritus Mark Strotman, November 17th just so happens to be the bye week for the Green Bay Packers. In short, Marquette and Wisconsin scheduled their yearly game in the window where the Packers would normally be playing were it not for the bye week. That’s brilliant work by both sides to get that done.
Marquette has won three of the last four games in the series against Wisconsin overall, as well as three of the last four in Madison. MU has won each of the last two meetings both overall and on the road. MU head coach Steve Wojciechowski is undefeated at the Kohl Center.