The non-conference portion of a college basketball schedule will forever continue to test the limits. We have tournaments being played from Brooklyn to Hawaii to the Bahamas. There are games played on monstrous naval ships and on military bases in other continents. So why not take it to the next level and play a game in Sioux Falls, South Dakota between two teams that aren’t even located in South Dakota.
Ok, so it’s not that exciting. But it is exciting for the residents of Sioux Falls and college basketball fans who are looking forward to the start of the season.
On November 8th, that is exactly how the 2013-14 season will begin for St. John’s and Wisconsin.
The contest will be the first Division I college basketball game played at the newly built $19 million Sanford Pentagon facility.
From the sounds of it, the Pentagon facility is quite the structure as it features nine courts including a main floor. The game between the Johnnies and Badgers will take place on the 3,250-seat Heritage Court.
Clearly the biggest city in South Dakota is much closer to Wisconsin than it is to New York City, but it will be considered a neutral site game for official record keeping.
“In terms of locale, Wisconsin fans from around the Midwest will have the opportunity to travel to Sioux Falls and watch the game, and it just made sense for us in terms of intelligent travel for our team,” Wisconsin associate head coach Greg Gard said. “We’ve been approached by several broadcasting networks to play a neutral site game around the world and we felt that given the time of when it needed to be played, the location and the opponent that this was a great fit for us.”
“The relationship Coach Ryan has with Coach (Steve) Lavin also made it a more appealing game,” Gard added. “They have had a long-standing relationship and with the game featuring Midwest and East Coast programs, it brings some flavor to the schedule.”
The Red Storm and Badgers will bring contrasting styles of play to Sioux Falls. St. John’s plays up-tempo with lots of energy while Wisconsin prefers the slow burn attack as they attempt to rock you to sleep. It will be an interesting test for each team to start the season.
This will be the first time in over a decade that the two teams will meet and only the fourth time ever. For those that care for meaningless, but interesting stats: Wisconsin leads the series 3-0.
TV rights and a game time are still to be decided, but it will be nationally televised.
This gives St. John’s another high-profile game on their non-conference slate with a home game against Syracuse in December being the other.
So how many New Yorkers are pumped to make a trip to South Dakota in early November? Don’t all book those plane tickets at once now.