It is no question that the Wisconsin basketball program has been one of the most successful programs in college basketball over the past decade. Their upset victory over the number one overall seed Villanova on Saturday has the Badgers looking for another long run into the NCAA tournament.
Wisconsin basketball is not one of the marquee programs when you mention the top college basketball programs, but it should be. The Badgers have by no means been as historically successful as the other top tier franchises like Duke and Kansas. However, they have been at the top of college basketball along with the rest since 2000.
They had only two NCAA tournament appearances before 1994 with one of those being a national championship in 1941. Since 2000 they have made every single tournament and have appeared in eleven sweet sixteen’s, four elite eights and three final fours. They were runner-up to Duke in 2015.
They have also won three Big Ten conference tournaments since 2000 and four regular season championships.
The Badgers finished second in the regular season this year in what was a rather strange season for the Big Ten. The Badgers then lost in the Big Ten tournament championship to a surging and emotional Michigan squad, which resulted in an eight seed in the NCAA tournament.
It was a rather controversial eight seed considering Wisconsin’s Big Ten foe Minnesota drew a five seed even though Wisconsin beat Minnesota twice during the season. The Badgers didn’t let it faze them after a solid ten-point first round victory over Virginia Tech. They definitely didn’t it let them faze them after a three-point win over tournament-favorite Villanova.
All four senior starters played a part in the 2015 runner-up experience. The Badgers are riding their experience into their sweet sixteen matchup against the Florida Gators. The Gators, who are coming off of dominating 65-39 victory over Virginia, look to make their eighth elite eight since 2000.
The Gators come in as a four seed. Many think they are the favorite against the Wisconsin team, who many thought would not be here. But Wisconsin is here, and they’re a force to be reckoned with.
Led by seniors Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig, the Badgers look to compete again this year for their first NCAA championship since 1941. With the help of key sophomore Ethan Happ, the Badgers have one of the most dangerous rosters in the NCAA.
The one and done era is evidently upon us, but Wisconsin is one of the few teams to be led with this much experience.
The bottom line is that this team knows how to win. In late game situations, they know what to do and they know how to do it without panicking. That’s a talent that you can’t teach. It’s talent that the Badgers have. It’s a talent that can win you a national championship.
Anyone who draws the Wisconsin Badgers in this upcoming tournament shouldn’t judge them by their seed, and consider themselves lucky because the Badgers are here to win.
“From Our Haus to Yours”