The University of Wisconsin-Madison men’s basketball team takes to the hardwood tonight for the first time this season. The unranked Badgers will be taking on No. 20 Saint Mary’s to tip off the regular season. The action will take place out in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, at the Sanford Pentagon. Tip is set for 8 p.m.  

Saint Mary’s is entering the season ranked No. 20 in the nation, setting the Badgers up for a huge test right out of the gate. The Gaels — coached by Randy Bennett — are returning four starters this year from a team that took down Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference Championship game last season to give them a bid in the NCAA Tournament.   

Senior Jordan Ford will lead the way this season for the Gaels as he averaged 21.1 points per game last season while shooting 41.2% from beyond the arc. He is accompanied by junior Malik Fitts and senior Tanner Krebs, both of whom are also sharpshooters from deep. Fitts finished last season shooting 40.6% and Krebs finished shooting 39.8% from distance.

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On the flip side of the ball, this will be the Badgers first regular-season game without Ethan Happ. There are still many questions about the new-look UW-Madison offense, and we might find some answers tonight.

Junior Nate Reuvers will be taking over at the center position. Last season he proved his ability to be effective from beyond the arc by shooting 32 of 84 on 3-pointers. This season he will have to prove that he is also willing to bang with the big fellas down in the low post to help make up for the production lost with Happ’s departure.  

This will also be junior Trevor Anderson’s first game back after suffering a knee injury that put him on the sideline for the entirety of the 2018-19 season. Anderson will be looking to prove himself as an invaluable asset coming off the bench.  

Freshman forward Tyler Wahl will be seeing the court for the first time in the regular season as a Wisconsin Badger. Wahl stuffed the stat sheet in the exhibition match against UW-La Crosse — Wahl finished with seven points, seven rebounds, five blocks, two assists and a steal in his 15 minutes on the floor.  

Expect a low-scoring, high-intensity game between these two teams who love to slow it down and set up in their half-court offenses. Tip is at 8 p.m., and you can catch the action on ESPNU or listen live with the Badger Radio Network.