By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Nov 10, 2022 at 5:06 PM Photography: Wisconsin Women's Basketball Facebook and Dan Garcia

This article is in partnership with UW-Madison Athletics.

The Brew Crew's season is well over, but American Family Field will still be rocking and cheering this weekend with the first-ever Brew City Battle college basketball double header. Indeed, after becoming a home for giant concerts, holiday happenings, soccer friendlies and of course baseball games, AmFam Field will add another special event to its slate, trading out grand slams for slam dunks with two one-of-a-kind Badgers basketball battles on Friday, Nov. 11. 

Here's why fans – of the Badgers, of basketball or of utterly unique Milwaukee events – will have a home run of a time at the inaugural Brew City Battle tomorrow night. (Oh no, I'm mixing my sports metaphors!) 

1. A historic tip-off

Dribbling ground balls? A fairly typical sight at American Family Field. But it's not every day that you get to see a basketball game dribbling around on the baseball diamond. Or any baseball diamond for that matter – because while football stadiums are increasingly common for big NCAA basketball games, ballparks are a far stranger setting. So even by college basketball's crazy standards, the Brew City Battle – building a basketball court across the infield grass, with the pitcher's mound marking center court – will be a particularly distinctive event and certainly, in the case of American Family Field, a first for the building's history. And no matter whether the games are blow-outs or nailbiters, you won't forget this memorably Milwaukee backdrop and the sounds of "Varsity" and "Jump Around" echoing around American Family Field like never before. 

2. Double the games, double the fun

One basketball game tipping off on a baseball diamond would be an extraordinary thrill on its own – but the Brew City Battle will bring two such special match-ups to AmFam Field. Now that's my favorite kind of and-one!

The day will begin at 3:30 p.m. with the Wisconsin Badgers women's basketball team taking the Brew Crew court against the Kansas State Wildcats. After those two duke it out, the men's Badgers basketball squad will then tip off their scrap against the Stanford Cardinal in primetime at 6:30 p.m. With not one but two games lined up for the historic night, it's a true baseball-based Badgers basketball bonanza!

3. Meaningful games, right off the bat

Some early season college basketball tournaments are more about off-court show than on-court go – one powerhouse school hosting some mediocre at best/cream puff competition at worst for some quick confidence or an out-of-its-league school inviting major teams over for a big check and even bigger blowouts. That's not the case with the Brew City Battle, as the Badgers both games will play major conference competition on the diamond. 

In the late afternoon matinee, the Badgers women squad is facing off against Kansas State from the Big 12 – the same conference as NCAA tournament regular and recent championship runner-up Baylor. And while the Wildcats may not boast Baylor's firepower (and really, how many schools can?), K-State logged an impressive on-court campaign last season, going 19-12 in the regular season, earning a March Madness trip and even pulling a first-round upset over Washington State as a nine-seed.

Unfortunately, their second-team All-American pick Ayoka Lee will miss the game due to season-ending knee surgery. Even without their star, though, the Wildcats should provide a wild early-season test for the Badgers, aiming to earn their first Tourney ticket since 2010 – an excitingly achievable goal considering Wisconsin's returning both its leading scorers, Julie Pospisilova (14.1 points per game) and Sydney Hilliard (12.8 points per game), while also bringing Holy Cross transfer Avery LaBarbera and her 16.4 points per game last season into the fold. With all that talent, the Brew City Battle could be the start of a standout year for these Badgers. 

As for game two, the primetime bout offers a primetime pairing as well with the Badgers – hot off their shared Big Ten regular season title and three-seed in the NCAA Tournament last year – hoping to start the 2022-23 season hot with a game against Pac-12 foe Stanford. This year's Wisconsin squad may not have first-round pick Johnny Davis or veteran sparkplug Brad Davidson anymore – but they do have Tyler Wahl and Chucky Hepburn, who really grew into their own last year, the former serving as the team's third leading scorer with 11.4 points and the latter leading the team in assists (2.3). Badgers fans are buzzing about freshman Connor Essegian as well, whose sharpshooting abilities already impressed this preseason. 

As for the Cardinal, they're in a bit of a rebuild right now – but they're just a few years removed from a March Madness run in 2018 that was complete with a first-round upset of BYU and less than a decade from their 2014 Sweet Sixteen appearance. Plus, the last time these two faced off? A 62-46 smackdown applied by the Badgers in 2018 – so the Cardinal might be particularly seeing red in this early-season spat. And not just because everyone in the stands will almost surely be wearing shades of red. 

And that's all just preseason talk – because who knows what 2022-23 will hold. That's what makes the start of any season so exciting: It's all potential and possibility. And with these matchups marking just the second game of the season for all four squads – and the first significant opponents after small-conference clashes in their respective openers – they'll all be wanting to make a statement. Where better to do it than in a setting as eye-catching and as unexpected as this?

4. One final Brewers tailgate for 2022

It wouldn't be a visit to American Family Field without a proper pregame (and postgame) tailgate. And indeed, while the teams and sports inside the building will look a little different, the atmosphere outside should look very familiar as the Brew City Battle will open the parking lots an hour before tip-off of the first game in order to ignite those classic Brewers tailgates. After all, it's November in Wisconsin, so what better way to keep warm before heading in than warm grills and even the even warmer company of your fellow fans. So bring out the brats, beer, barbecue grills and backyard games, and ring in this very untraditional sporting event with a wonderful Sconnie sports tradition. 

5. One-of-a-kind experience for wondrous prices

Two basketball games played in historic fashion at an unprecedented venue? The cost of that should be through the retractable – and yet tickets to get into the building for the Brew City Battle start as low as $29. Sure, there's VIP ticket options that put fans right by the court – complete with complimentary food and drink – that cost what you might expect for a literal courtside view of history, but no matter your level of Wisconsin fandom and wallet filled-ness, there's a place for you at the Brew City Battle for the right price. There are even special discount rates starting as low as $19 for youth teams hoping to attend – complete with an opportunity to get on the field (er, court) as a part of a honorary parade in between the two games. That's right: You could be a part of history at a discount price!

For tickets and for more information about the debut double-header, click here. And here's to the stands turning red – for a much more acceptable reason than the St. Louis Cardinals being in town. 

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.