This week, The Dagger takes a deeper look at each of the four schools participating in the 2014 Final Four. We start with the West Regional champion, Wisconsin.
Location: Madison, Wisc.
Must Follow on Twitter: Frank Kaminsky (@FSKPart3)
Find them here: Official team site or Twitter
How they got to Arlington: d. No. 15 American, d. No. 7 Oregon, d. No. 6 Baylor, d. No. 1 Arizona.
Greatest basketball moment: Fueled by Dick Bennett's smothering man-to-man defense, Wisconsin became one of only six No. 8 seeds ever to reach the Final Four in 2000, The Badgers ousted Fresno State, top-seeded Arizona, LSU and Purdue along the way before falling to eventual champ Michigan State in the national semifinals.
Reason to root for them: Every year since 1976, Bo Ryan's birthday gift to his father was bringing him to the Final Four. Butch Ryan died in August at age 89, eight months too soon to have a chance to see Bo finally on the sidelines at a Final Four for the first time instead of in the stands.
Reason to root against them: The glamour title game matchup is clearly preseason No. 1 Kentucky seeking redemption for three regular season losses against current No. 1 Florida. Though the Badgers have beaten Florida once this season and would certainly be a worthy opponent for either the Gators or UConn, the national championship game is most compelling if it's an all-SEC clash.
Famous alumni: Architect Frank Lloyd Wright, former U.S. vice president Dick Cheney, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig.
Noteworthy: The Badgers defy the traditional stereotype of Wisconsin as an overachieving team with limited offense but a formidable defense and consistent enough focus to rack up wins. This team still plays at a modest pace but is efficient and versatile offensively, as evidenced by its ranking of No. 4 in the nation in points per possession.
Quote to note: "If Butch were here, he'd be in tears. He'd be crying. He'd be holding up some sign. Somebody had a sign way up in the second deck that said, 'This one's for Butch.' I don't know who that was but kudos to them." — Wisconsin assistant coach Greg Gard on how Bo Ryan's father would have reacted were he alive to see his son make his first Final Four.
Must see video: Go behind the scenes with Wisconsin's victory celebration after its one-point Elite Eight victory over Arizona on Saturday.
- - - - - - -