Last March, the Wisconsin Badgers basketball team season ended with a 61-54 loss to the Butler Bulldogs in the Sweet Sixteen. It's somewhat amazing the Badgers scored that many points, because there was a 9-minute long stretch where Wisconsin did not score a single point. Butler held a 29-24 lead after two Mike Bruesewitz free throws with 3:10 remaining in the first half, and that lead swelled to 42-24 when Bruesewitz finally sunk a layup with 14:03 to go in the second half. To recap, Wisconsin scored 54 points in 31 minutes and 0 in the other 9.
If the Badgers intend on making some more noise in the tournament this time around, they can't afford to get stagnant offensively. They also cannot afford to turn the shot clock into an extra defender when they hit an offensive rut. Playing at a comfortable pace -- not too fast, not too slow -- is crucial to the Badgers' offensive success, according to assistant coach Greg Gard. Going too quickly will lead to charges and turnovers, but going too slowly will lead to standing around and rushed field goal attempts to beat an expiring shot clock.
The Badgers have had their fair share of scoring droughts this season. Sometimes they lost because of one (at Michigan), they almost gave away a game because of one (at Minnesota), and sometimes they won in spite of one (at Penn State). Sadly, if they happen to you in the NCAA tournament, you usually lose.
Let's face it, good things have not happened when Mike Bruesewitz has shot the ball in recent weeks. Hopefully Bruiser can turn it around and make it rain from downtown like he did last year in the tourney.
Vegas has the Badgers as the 14th most likely team to win the national championship at 40-to-1 odds. With fellow Big Ten 4-seeds Indiana at 75-to-1 and Michigan at 100-to-1, the oddsmakers must think the Badgers have an easier road to N'awlins.
The President of the United States thinks that the Badgers will handle Montana and Vanderbilt but ultimately succumb to Syracuse in Boston. And who knows, maybe Barack filled out his bracket before he found out Fab Melo was suspended.
Vote for the '99 Badgers football squad in this Big Ten Football March Madness poll. They're going against a Nebraska team that wasn't even in the Big Ten at the time, so there's no reason Bucky shouldn't win this one. Also, vote for Wisconsin in the final round of Klout's Influencer Insanity. Somehow Marquette made the final too?
Where Freddie Owens promises not to kiss Bo Ryan on Thursday, but perhaps a hug.
Matt Lepay does well to remind us that as we head into a tournament that so often ends with a tinge of disappointment, don't forget to savor the things that happened along the way.