The bowl featured Wisconsin of the Big Ten Conference (Big Ten) and Arizona State of the Pac-12 Conference. This was the fifth meeting between the two programs, with Arizona State holding a 3–1 edge in previous meetings, the most recent occurring in 2013. This was Wisconsin's first trip to the Las Vegas Bowl. This was Arizona State's third trip to the Las Vegas Bowl. They lost their two previous trips (2011 to Boise State, and 2018 to Fresno State).
Wisconsin, 8-4 (6-3 in conference play), have won six out of their last seven bowl game appearances. All-American linebacker Leo Chenal and freshman All-American tailback Braelon Allen are top players for the Badgers.