I’m not going to lie, I may have almost cried when I saw Florida’s Chris Chiozza hit that buzzer-beater 3-pointer to knock out my Badgers from going on to the Elite Eight.
As the ball sunk, so did my heart.
“This is really it,” I thought, “This astounding run with this incredible team and these four incredible seniors are over.”
Though I may be crushed, I am also thankful. Wisconsin basketball knows how to make every season memorable, and this season was no different.
Thank you, Wisconsin.
Thank you for proving that the NCAA Tournament Committee terribly under-seeded us.
I’m still not sure why we got an 8 seed when we were the runner-up in the Big Ten championship and we have an impressive NCAA tournament history. I understand the Big Ten isn’t doing too hot as of late, but Maryland getting a 6 seed and Minnesota getting a 5 seed?
It just doesn’t make sense.
Maybe the Committee forgot about the Big Ten tournament, and maybe they also forgot that Wisconsin smacked both Minnesota and Maryland during the regular season. Thank you Wisconsin for not caring about your awful seeding and making it farther than both of those teams in the tournament anyway.
Thank you for giving the Big Ten some redemption.
Like I said in my last paragraph, I’m fully aware of the state of the Big Ten. Despite this, I don’t believe the Big Ten is in as much of shambles, as some people think we are. Thank you for proving why this conference is still one of the most competitive in the nation. (Moritz Wagner agrees.)
Not that this is all on Wisconsin, though—Michigan was the sleeper team no one expected, Purdue had a decent run, and Northwestern surprised everyone by falling just short of the Sweet Sixteen in a close game with 1 seed Gonzaga.
Thank you for beating Villanova.
That was a game no one will forget. This game finally made the tournament characteristically chaotic, which is what everyone had been waiting for. It just isn’t March Madness without busted brackets and crazy upsets, and Wisconsin gave us just that. This team proved that we don’t need a superstar like Lonzo Ball or De’Aaron Fox to compete. We just need players who will work together, and of course, it always helps to have the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year.
Thank you for continuing the legacy.
When Bo Ryan left, many were unsure of what the future of Wisconsin basketball would look like. It’s clear now that Wisconsin hasn’t gone anywhere. This season was Wisconsin’s 19th straight NCAA tournament appearance (the 5th longest streak ever) and fourth straight Sweet Sixteen. We’ve had 20+ wins for the 11th straight season (the longest streak in the Big Ten), a winning record in league play for a record 17 consecutive seasons, and double-digit conference wins for 15 of the last 16 years. This season was something to be proud of.
Thank you for going out with a bang.
Wisconsin basketball really does know how to make everything interesting. This last game may have ended in a loss, but you can always leave it to the Badgers to make it an exciting one. Wisconsin and Florida battled it out until literally the last second of the game. Showalter excited everyone watching when he scored a clutch 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation time and then battled it out until the last buzzer-beater shot in overtime—the first overtime of the tournament. How typical of Wisconsin.
Thank you, seniors, for giving us everything you had.
The seniors are really who to thank for why Wisconsin is so fun to watch and why they keep everything so interesting. After the loss to Iowa on March 2, things were looking rough for the team, but loyal fans knew that Koenig, Brown, Showy, and Hayes don’t give up without a fight. After that game, they cleaned up their act and didn’t lose again until in the Big Ten championship game, and then not again until the Sweet Sixteen game against Florida.
Seniors, you will be missed so greatly. No one deserved the championship more than you.
Thank you for everything.