3/17 Badgers Madness History: Wisconsin Returns to NCAA Tournament
Wisconsin Badgers have a storied history of the NCAA Tournament starting in the 2000’s, but before that, they did not have a history to speak of in college basketball. While their football team emerged as a power in the 90’s, Wisconsin basketball did not except for one year, 1994. On this day in Badgers basketball history, Wisconsin would make their return to the NCAA Tournament. It is their first appearance since 1947. For those who are not math majors out there, that is a 47 year lay off. Crazy to think Wisconsin had that long of a layoff considering all the success they had in the last 20 years.
In that game, Wisconsin would beat Cincinnati, 80-72 to win their first tournament game since 1947. Wisconsin got a massive game from Rashad Griffith who had 22 points and 15 rebounds. He tied his teammate, Michael Finley, for the most points in this game as Finley had 22 as well. Badgers jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.
Other games of note on March 17th.
2011: There could not have been more hype around the Belmont Bruins heading into the tournament. Everyone thought that Belmont was the sexy team to pull off an upset against Wisconsin in the first round. That did not happen as the Badgers won 72-58 in convincing fashion.
2012: Wisconsin advances to Sweet 16 for the second consecutive year beating a very talented Vanderbilt team. This was a wild game with Vandy having a chance to win it at the end with talented guard John Jenkins yet he missed an open three that would have beat Wisconsin. That Vanderbilt had a ton of offense and many thought they could make a long run. This was before we know Kevin Stallings sucked at coaching. This is Wisconsin’s first-ever back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances.
2002 and 2006: Not always good times for the Badgers on St. Patrick’s Day. They lost by 30 against Maryland on this date in 2002 in the second round although that Terps team won the title. In 2006, Arizona and Hassan Adams, a SnotapWI favorite, pounded Wisconsin by 19 points.