Each year the NCAA tournament offers sports fans exhilarating highs and gut wrenching lows. The tournament is full of last minute buzzer beaters, bracket busting upsets, the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat. There are plays and moments that will take on a life of their own as they become enshrined in highlight reels, to be viewed over and over, when taking a look back on conquests of the past.
This year, two Wisconsin teams are still in the hunt to become NCAA Men’s College Basketball Champions. The last time both Wisconsin and Marquette made it to the Sweet 16 was in 2003. Wisconsin was the #5 seed in Midwest Region and was matched up against #1 seeded Kentucky. They were lead by their sophomore guard, Devin Harris. Kentucky prevailed 63-57 knocking the Badgers out of the tournament. Marquette was the #3 seed in the Midwest Region and was matched up with #2 seeded Pitt. They were lead by a pretty talented guard of their own, Dwayne Wade. The Golden Eagles emerged victorious over Pitt with a narrow 77-74 win. Marquette helped Wisconsinites avenge the loss suffered by the Badgers to Kentucky by beating Kentucky 83-69 to advance to the Final Four where they met Kansas who proved to have too much fire power for them to overcome. Here are some fun facts to consider since the “tournament era” began:
- Marquette has reached the Sweet 16 thirteen times
- Wisconsin won the National Championship once (1941) coached by Bud Foster
- Marquette won the National Championship once (1977) coached by Al McGuire
- 2011 is only the second time in tournament history that the Badgers and the Golden Eagles have made the Sweet 16 in the same year
This year, to advance into the Elite 8, the #4 seeded Wisconsin Badgers will have to beat #8 seeded Butler in the Southeast Region. This year the Badgers have relied on the steady performance of junior guard, Jordan Taylor. That game will take place on March 24th, and is scheduled to start at 9:57pm Eastern. The #11 Marquette Golden Eagles will have an arguably tougher challenge as they take on #2 seeded North Carolina in the East Region which is schedule to take place on March 25th at 7:15pm Eastern. They will need their junior guard, Darius Johnson-Odom, to continue his clutch performance if they are to move past North Carolina and on to the next round. In 1977, when Marquette won the tournament, they had to beat North Carolina in the Championship game to do so. The Badgers and the Golden Eagles have never advanced to the Elite 8 in the same year.
It is noteworthy that should Wisconsin and Marquette win their next three games, they would play their fourth game against each other and the winner of that game would be crowned 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion.
Best of luck to both our Wisconsin Badgers and Marquette Golden Eagles!
Brian A. Peters, M.B.A., M.S.A.
Tags: 2011 basketball, basketball national championship, basketball statistics, brian peters, living in wisconsin, marquette basketball, men's college basketball, midwest region basketball, ncaa tournament, wisconsin basketball