Despite winning two regular season and a tournament championship in six years under Bo Ryan, the Badgers have played Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland twice and Wake Forest twice in eight challenge events, with perennial ACC powers Duke and North Carolina being left off the Wisconsin schedule.
That finally all changes Tuesday night.
After the Badgers won 30 games and ascended to a number one national ranking last season, Wisconsin will get its shot, as the undefeated 20th-ranked Badgers will face the seventh-ranked Duke Blue Devils for the first time in school history.
Duke's history is littered with national titles, ACC Championships and a plethora of first-team All-Americans.
The crown jewels of Wisconsin's basketball empire are its lone championship (1941), a teary-eyed Dick Bennett cutting down the nets to go to the Final Four in 2000 and All-American Alando Tucker.
Although it doesn't seem like the two schools compare on the surface, if one dives deeper, the two school's dominance over the past six seasons is starkly similar.
- Since 2001, Wisconsin's average finish in the Big Ten is 2.17, which is tied with Florida for the best in the country. Duke is tied for third with an average finish of 2.33.
- During that same time frame, Wisconsin has won two Big Ten regular season and one Big Ten tournament title, while Duke has also won two ACC regular season titles and four ACC tournament crowns.
- Over the last five years, Duke is tops in the country with 143 wins while the Badgers are 14th-best with their 128 wins.
- Duke and Wisconsin are among a list of nine teams that have participated in the NCAA tournament the last nine years.
- The Badgers have gone 96-5 (.950) at the Kohl Center since 2001 - the second-best home record in the country. Trailing not that far behind in sixth place, Duke has gone 87-7 (.926) at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
- Even the coaches are mirror images of each other, as Bo Ryan and Mike Krzyzewski are two of just 17 active Division I coaches with at least 500 career victories, ranking second and third, respectively, among those coaches in career winning percentage.
Needless to say, these two schools are two of a kind.
"Everything is exciting in this program right now and to be going to Duke, who's been a powerhouse for a number of years, and to be able to compete with them and, hopefully, beat them on their own floor would bring this program up even more than where it is right now," freshman Tim Jarmusz said. "It's hard to say you can't get up for every game but especially when you go to Duke, the game does catch your eye on the schedule.
"It gets everybody fired up," he added. "The whole state is going to be watching and we're going to do our best to try and win."
Just like in year's past, Duke provides a balanced offensive attack. Guards Gerald Henderson, DeMarcus Nelson and Jon Scheyer along with forward Kyle Singler all average over 10 points per game and all bring a different dynamic.
Nelson grabs 6.8 rebounds per game, Scheyer is hitting 53 percent of his three-point field goals and Henderson leads the team in blocks.
Even Duke's bench is getting stronger every game, which was evident by little-known Taylor King's performance against Eastern Kentucky on Sunday. Averaging less than seven points per game, King scored a career-high 27 points, including hitting six-three point buckets, in a 35-point win over the Colonels, a victory in which Duke gave up only 12 first-half points.
But Singler is Duke's all-around best player, leading the team in points (15.8), field goal and free throw percentage (60.0 and 90.9, respectively) and is pulling down 6.6 rebounds per game.
Against No.11 Marquette, the freshman forward scored 25 points on 7-for-11 shooting and a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line to beat the Golden Eagles 77-73 victory, winning MVP honors and helping the Blue Devils claim their fourth EA Sports Maui Invitational championship.
"He's off to an impressive start and he's very versatile," said assistant coach Gary Close, who assembled the scouting report for the game. "He's probably their best post-up player, but he can also step out and put it on the floor or shoot the three. He's a great rebounder and has a quiet confidence about him. He's a talent and he's delivering so far."
Although Duke has the more talent and is quicker than Georgia (Wisconsin's last opponent), the Badgers will have a good sense of the physicality the Blue Devils will bring. Wisconsin had trouble adjusting to the size and style of Georgia, shooting just 25 percent and committing 10 turnovers in the first half, but made the necessary adjustments in the second half to shoot 45 percent, commit only three turnovers and hold Georgia to just 17 second-half points.
After being on the Georgia and Duke scout team for the Badgers, Jarmusz and his teammates have drawn a lot of parallels between the two schools, which means the Badgers will have no excuse for another flat start against a stronger, more physical team.
"Georgia and Duke are actually very similar," Jarmusz said. "They are very aggressive, can get up in your face and pressure you full court. Obviously, Duke has got a lot of good three-point shooters and are very sound and fundamental. They are not going to make too many mistakes and that's one thing we're going to have to try and exploit."
Duke (6-0) at Wisconsin (5-0)
Date/Time - Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 8 p.m. CST
Arena – Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, N.C. (9,314)
Television - ESPN (Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale, Doris Burke)
Radio - Wisconsin Radio Network (Matt Lepay, Mike Lucas)
Series – First Meeting
UW is 14-10 all-time against teams currently in the ACC
The Badgers are 3-5 all-time in the Challenge (2-1 at home, 1-0 at neutral sites and 0-4 on the road)
UW and Duke are a combined 184-12 (.939) at home over the last seven years
Bo Ryan and Mike Krzyzewski rank second and third, respectively, in career winning percentage among active coaches with at least 500 wins
The Badgers have started the season 5-0 for the first time in Bo Ryan's seven seasons. It is the first 5-0 start for UW since the Badgers began the 1996-97 season 6-0
In the first four games of the season, UW had seven different players (Hughes, Butch, Landry, Bohannon, Krabbenhoft, Flowers and Stiemsma) score at least 10 points in a game