Preseason tournaments are special

Ross Litscher, Sports Editor

On Nov. 11, American Family Field (formerly Miller Park), home of the Milwaukee Brewers, hosted an event that it has never hosted before: a college basketball game.
The “Brew City Battle” was an event where both the Wisconsin Badgers men’s and women’s basketball teams hosted a game at the Brewers’ home stadium for the first time ever.
Located just 76 miles from the Kohl Center, American Family Field was able to give the Badgers a clear homecourt advantage, as the men were able to take advantage of in a 60-50 win over Stanford.
The women’s game was up first in the afternoon, and the Badgers could not hold off Kansas State, losing 77-63.
The main event was the Wisconsin Badgers men’s team, fresh off a co-Big Ten championship last year, facing off against the Stanford Cardinal from the Pac-12. Despite losing some scoring from last season in Johnny Davis and Brad Davison, the Badgers still had high expectations coming into this season.
The Badgers got off to a 7-2 start following a Tyler Wahl fast break dunk, but Stanford was able to battle back while the Badgers went cold from the field. The teams played close for a while until the Badgers were able to end the half on an 18-6 run to go up 32-20 at the intermission.
Stanford fought its way back into it in the second half as neither team was able to shoot the ball well this game, The Badgers ended up five of 22 from 3-point range and Stanford shot just one of 16 from behind the arc. A lot of that was most likely because of the different roof height of American Family Field compared to normal basketball arenas, which can sometimes mentally affect the players shooting.
Wahl led all scorers with 17 points and Jordan Davis added a career high 13 points. Chucky Hepburn, a preseason All-Big Ten player, added 11 points as the Badgers improved to 2-0 on the season.
Overall, this event was a very good idea. I’m always a fan of basketball games being played in unconventional locations and this one certainly falls into that category.
On the same night, second ranked Gonzaga defeated another Big Ten team in Michigan State on an aircraft carrier off the coast of San Diego in a rare outdoor college basketball game.
That game I’ve been waiting on for a while, as college basketball last did a Veterans Day game on an aircraft carrier in 2012.
I’m a big fan of these types of games and tournaments for a few reasons. One is that most of the time people don’t pay attention to college basketball until March Madness gets closer, normally in January/February, so anything to kind of spice up early season games in November/December is a good thing.
Something I enjoy is the early season mini tournaments that take place around Thanksgiving and Christmas. These events have anywhere from four to eight teams each and are hosted in some cool locations, like all over the Caribbean, Hawaii, Daytona Beach, Las Vegas and Myrtle Beach. They’re also played at some famous basketball arenas like Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Moda Center in Portland and Honda Center in Anaheim. The Badgers will participate in the Battle 4 Atlantis in Nassau, Bahamas later this month.
Another cool thing they used to do was a 24-hour tip-off marathon to start the season, where a full slate of games would be played all around the world for a total of 24 hours straight.
All these events do a great job of celebrating how great a sport basketball is, and I would even like them to try some more outdoor events at some famous locations such as the Venice Beach courts in California and Rucker Park in New York.
As for the Brew City Battle, I hope they do it again and I thought it was a cool way for the Badgers to start their season.