WKOW (MADISON)- Wednesday marked the first official day of the college basketball season. The last game the Wisconsin men's basketball team played was to claim a share of the regular-season Big Ten title. Days later, their season was cut short due to the pandemic.
This year they return the core of their team, including seven seniors, who believe they can be right back in that position but this time with more to accomplish.
"We know that there's a lot out there to get, and we know we're going to be on a high pedestal coming into the season ranked in the top ten or whatnot, so I'm super excited about that," Senior Guard D'Mitrik Trice said.
"Having everyone back just adds more fuel to the fire," Senior Guard Brad Davison said. "We're extremely excited. We know what it takes to get there. Man, we're just excited to compete against someone that's not wearing the red and white."
"We aren't going to teleport back to March 7th and become that team right away," Head Coach Greg Gard said. "We have to basically wipe the slate clean, and we start over. We use those experiences and what it took for us to get there, but nothing's more important than the first drill of the day."
COVID restrictions limited team basketball activities in the off-season. So, Coach Gard had his players running stadium stairs at Camp Randall to gear up mentally and physically for the season.
"One of the biggest I think benefits of that has been the mental challenge it presents and the tossing and turning the night before you have to run it as a player, the angst it creates," Gard said. "It creates a mental opponent you have to overcome."
Now that the season is officially here, the next step is to get schedules worked out. The NCAA is recommending a minimum of four non-conference games. Games can be played starting November 25.