The Gophers men's basketball team isn't sure what the roster will look like in the 2021-22 season, but its league opponents were revealed with Thursday's 20-game Big Ten schedule release.
Last season, the Gophers only played rival Wisconsin once in a 71-59 loss in Madison on New Year's Eve. That was the first time the Border Battle between the two programs was limited to one game in a season since 2017-18.
The Big Ten made sure to fix that with the Gophers and Badgers meeting twice in first-year Minnesota coach Ben Johnson's inaugural campaign next season.
One player back for more in the rivalry is one Minnesota fans probably thought they saw for the last time. Maple Grove native and Badgers senior guard Brad Davison announced this spring he'll use the NCAA's extra year of eligibility and return for a fifth season.
Davison and senior center Nate Reuvers from Lakeville were one of seven Minnesotans on the Wisconsin roster. Reuvers will not be back after deciding to pursue a pro career overseas.
The last time the Gophers and Badgers clashed at the Barn was in the U's 70-52 win in front of 11,389 on Feb. 6, 2020. Payton Willis had 21 points to lead Minnesota. Guess what? Willis will be back after transferring away to Charleston last season.
"To come out and have a big game in a rivalry environment like that was great for me," Willis said this spring. "I'll never forget that game."
Wisconsin joins another rival Iowa, Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, and Northwestern as the U's home and road opponents next year.
Playing the Gophers only once this season will be Illinois, Rutgers and Purdue at Williams Arena and Michigan, Maryland and Nebraska on the road.
The Gophers will play their only exhibition game on Nov. 1 against Concordia-St. Paul at home. Johnson's head-coaching debut is Nov. 9 vs. Missouri-Kansas City at the Barn.
Last season, the Gophers had to cancel their season opener vs. Albany on Nov. 11 and didn't begin play until Nov. 25 due to the pandemic. Minnesota only played seven nonconference games last year, but the schedule is expected to return to normal in 2021-22.
The 2022 Big Ten tournament is scheduled for March 9-13 again at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.