Badgers Make ’em Believe!

Maureen Schick, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

The Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team has been the talk of the nation after ending the Kentucky Wildcats’ perfect 38-0 season with a 71-64 victory in the Final Four, which took place at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Their road to a Division I National Championship has not been an easy one with games against Coastal Carolina, Oregon, North Carolina and Kentucky on the way to the finals.

The Badgers haven’t taken a single moment for granted, however, and they know from experience after losing to Kentucky in the Final Four last year on a buzzer-beater just how fast their season can end.

When facing the seemingly unbeatable team, the Badgers weren’t looking to stop history; they were determined to make their own. Josh Gasser, a senior on the team, said, “They were going for an undefeated season. We were going for a national championship.”

Wisconsin Head Coach Bo Ryan said, “These guys just gutted it out. We just kept battling on every possession.” The Badgers came back battling a 4-point deficit in the last six minutes of the game, hitting an 8-0 run to guarantee themselves a spot in the coveted championship against Duke.

The Badgers are not all work, though, and recently the media has had a field day with the goofy members of the team. Nigel Hayes, a sophomore forward, has been making press conferences a bit more interesting by dropping words that are difficult to spell because of his fascination with the stenographer who records what is said at the press conferences. Throughout the tournament, he has used words such as catawampus, antidisestablishmentarianism, prestidigitation, and logorrhea to stump the stenographer.

Hayes again showed his goofiness when he answered a reporter’s question honestly by explaining that “I don’t really know how to answer questions. I thought I was only here to say words.”

Bo Ryan, head coach, even joins in saying, “My guys are too tense. Can’t you tell?” He also kiddingly responds to a reporter who asked about matching up with Duke’s own star player, Jahlil Okafor by saying, “He’d kill me.”

Adding in to the fun is star forward, Frank Kaminsky. This 7-foot senior has won numerous awards this year, including Big Ten Player of the Year, the Naismith Award, which is all about athleticism, sportsmanship and leadership, and was also honored as a 1st Team All-American.

Although he is nothing but “The Tank” on court, he also has a goofy side to him. In an interview that asked him how he became known as “The Man,” Kaminsky replied, “I wasn’t prepared for a question of this magnitude. Do you want an intellectual answer or…?”

He also seems to be like a normal college kid despite seeming to be a national star on the court. When asked what his plans were after the game was over, Kaminsky said, “FIFA. My goal is to move up from 4th on the team.”

This team is goofy and fun off the court, and they are enjoying the moment in a different manner than most. They laugh, joke with each other and have fun with everything. With just one game standing in the way of a National Championship, the Badgers are ready to reach the goals they set out for themselves in the beginning of the season.

The Badgers play Monday, April 6, at 8:06 p.m. against Duke at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in pursuit of the school’s first national championship since 1941.

“We all believed we could make the national championship and win it,” senior Josh Gasser said. “We’ve got 40 minutes left, and we are going to try to take advantage of it.”