Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin Badgers Basketball Team Is In Rarefied Air


Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

One of these things is not like the other.

That lyric keeps popping up in my head every time all four teams are showed on television this past week. Wisconsin just doesn’t belong in Arlington.

Kentucky has won three national titles since 1996, Florida won back-to-back trophies from 2006-2007, and UConn has added three titles since 1999. The first and only time the Badgers were the last team standing was in 1941, before Franklin Roosevelt and the rest of America lived their day of infamy.

So are we Wisconsin Badgers fans okay with just getting to our third Final Four?

I am. And I am not. I feel as though, as a Wisconsin fan, I deserve a national championship in one of the two big college sports — basketball and football. The university has fielded 26 winners of NCAA championships since its basketball title, including women’s and men’s ice hockey, cross country, and men’s indoor track and field, and numerous boxing titles.

I wanted the Badgers to lose to Michigan State in the B1G tournament, I thought the Badgers were going to get another raw deal and play away from home, or home adjacent, in the opening rounds, but they still got in at a 2 seed. And then the magic started to happen.

There was no fizzle like last year against Marshall Henderson and Mississippi, no upset as a No. 2 like 2007 against UNLV, and Bucky and company actually were on the winning end of a close game, rather than a 64-63 loss to Syracuse in 2012.

Wisconsin beat Florida, Green Bay, Virginia, St. Louis, Iowa, Michigan State, Michigan all at least once before the tournament started, and have since won in fine and hair-graying fashion the last few weeks.

This resume is great when Oregon, Baylor, and Arizona are added to the list of felled opponents.

These last few years’ accomplishments should put the Wisconsin Badgers basketball team in the conversation as perennial B1G favorite, as they are now in football, and that is something all fans can look forward to. 

After the Badgers football team became the Buffalo Bills of bowl games — on the wrong side of four consecutive bowls, including three in Pasadena — it is time for things to go our way.

There was a team here in Michigan that went to its first boys basketball title since the Harry Truman administration. They were able to bookend that lengthy era with a state championship.

Let’s hope Wisconsin can end this year in the same fashion and join some great company.

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Tags: 2014 Final Four Basketball Wisconsin Badgers