For the first time since 2000, the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team has made it to the 2014 NCAA Final Four by beating the University of Arizona 64-63 in overtime. I'm not going to rehash the game -- you may have watched it yourself on TV or read about it in the news, and I can't do the game justice compared to the professionals. However, I will give you a little bit of my perspective.
As a kid growing up in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, I was about eight years old when the Milwaukee Bucks drafted a kid out of UCLA named Lew Alcindor; and with Oscar Robertson's arrival, they teamed up in 1971 to give the Bucks its only NBA championship. You got to remember that this was at least five years after Vince Lombardi left the Packers, and Bart Starr wasn't winning us any football championships. In 1975, Kareem was traded to the Lakers, and the Buck have been basically cursed ever since.
So now you have the Bucks stinking up the NBA, the Packers fouling up the NFL until 1992, the Wisconsin Badgers football team didn't get respectable until Barry Alvarez's arrival in 1990, and it was still awhile until the Brewers actually were competitive when teaming Yount and Molitor together in the late 70's. Notice, I haven't even mentioned college basketball because we had Al McGuire coaching at Marquette.
The then Marquette Warriors were a thing of beauty to watch. They consistently had 20-game win seasons (a high number back then), and they were always invited to the tournaments, winning the NIT championship in 1970 and making the NCAA Final Four in 1974 and winning Marquette's only NCAA national championship in 1977.
So what does this have to do with the Wisconsin Badgers in the 2014 Final Four? I'm a homer and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I only am interested in teams from Wisconsin. What also makes this Badger basketball team a little bit more special for me is that I'm rooting for Sam Dekker because he is from my hometown. Reading the Sheboygan Press every day, I saw the articles of how he was a high school phenom and was overjoyed to see that he stayed in the state to play his collegiate career. He's only a sophomore right now, and I'm hoping he helps his team to a couple more of these before the graduates.