A philosopher once said, ‘In order to be the man, you gotta beat the man.’ The No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers have that exact scenario in front of them, as they take on eight-time national champion No. 3 Stanford Cardinal for the right to hoist the trophy. First to get to a three-count wins the whole shebang.
How to watch/listen
TV: ESPN2, 7:00 p.m., CT.
Radio/Satellite: 1310 AM, Jon Arias
Live stats: Here.
Arena: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh PA
- Despite what recent history would tell you, historically Wisconsin has fared well when the title was on the line. (It helps to have the best hockey coaching family on your bench for a long time.)
Badger NCAA Title Games
|Men's Basketball||1941||Washington State||W||39-34 final score|
|Football||1962||Southern Cal||L||#1 v #2 in the Rose Bowl|
|Men's Hockey||1982||North Dakota||L|
|Men's Hockey||1992||Lake Superior State||L|
|Women's Volleyball||2000||Southern Cal||L|
|Men's Hockey||2006||Boston College||W||SKILLE WITH THE GOAL|
|Men's Hockey||2010||Boston College||L|
|Women's Hockey||2011||Boston University||W|
|Women's Volleyball||2013||Penn State||L|
- Both teams are on hot streaks after early losses. Wisconsin’s gone 23-2 since a 4-4 non-conference record. Stanford started 7-3 before ripping off their ongoing 22-1 run.
- Recent tournament history is tilted to Stanford. The Cardinal spoiled Lauren Carlini’s last home game in the 2016 regional final, and beat them in Palo Alto a year later.
- Holiday traditions in my house included the chopping down of a pine tree he says with the subtlety of a Rettke attack.
- Each side of the net has a pair of First-Team All-Americans. You know about Wisconsin’s Dana Rettke and Sydney Hilley. Stanford boasts setter Jenna Gray and libero Morgan Hentz.
- Katheryn Plummer, who was out for 10 matches, did not qualify for All-American status. She’s just a two-time National Player of the Year.
- This Cardinal senior class already won two titles! They don’t need another.
- Wisconsin improved to 3-0 in national semifinal matches after downing No. 1 Baylor, 3-1, on Thursday night, improving to 2-1 against top-ranked teams in the NCAA tournament. The Badgers defeated No. 2 USC, 3-1, in 2000 and top-ranked Texas, 3-1, in 2013 in national semifinals. We don’t need to talk about what happened in the games after the prior Final Four wins.
- Wisconsin is now 15-1 in set play in the championship.
- Junior Dana Rettke led all players with eight blocks against Baylor on Thursday night, moving her into eighth on the UW career list with 494 blocks.