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The Wisconsin Badgers Advance to the Sweet 16

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It was a fairly rough weekend for the Big Ten. I don't really care though, because Bronson Koenig

So beautiful
So beautiful
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It was January 12th, and it was a dark, dark time to be a Badger fan. Wisconsin had just suffered an uninspiring 70-65 loss to 15-3 Northwestern in Evanston to drop to 9-9 and 1-4 in conference play. A team already sporting losses to Western Illinois and UW-Milwaukee wasn't just going to miss the NCAA Tournament and have the phenomenally cherry picked stat of consecutive top 4 finishes in conference broken, Wisconsin wasn't even going to make the NIT. Greg Gard looked like he'd inherited a sinking ship, and it was gong down faster than Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic. Rose Bo had left Greg out in the cold, and there wasn't enough room for him allegedly in Boca Raton.

AND THEN IT HAPPENED...

Wisconsin completely turned it around. Losing only to Michigan State on the road (expected), Purdue on the road (not surprising), and Nebrasketball in the BTT (WTF). That loss probably dropped us a seed, but honestly with the 11 seeds this year I'd have rather played Pitt than any of Gonzaga, Wichita State, or Northern Iowa. And then there was the actual game against Pitt...

So I love good defense. Not that there's anything wrong with a fast paced game, but I'd rather watch a rock fight game Wisconsin wins than have a game played at tempo flowing along nicely but have Wisconsin be down 54-29 at halftime or some other hammerfucking than shouldn't ever happen to a 7 seed in the second round. I mean that'd be as embarrassing as giving up the all-time Rose Bowl all purpose yards record while down 35-0 at halftime. I mean Iowa fans, it must be REALLY nice to only lose at most an hour of the day when your football and basketball teams are in the national spotlight. I mean I've wasted basically all day watching just this...

"Get fucked Iowa" notwithstanding there's "good defensive battle played at a deliberate pace" and "neither team could hit water if they fell off a boat". Wisconsin and Pitt was wayyyyyyyy too much of the latter. Although it was nice to see Wisconsin win a game where Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig combined to shoot 4-25 from the field. I've been saying all year at OTE HQ after games like that "well of course Wisconsin lost, Hayes and Koenig went into full out chucker mode and were hitting everything except the bottom of the net" (Also I don't even want to discuss that Hayes is shooting about 12% from the field in the post season, I did it plenty on Twitter last night). Would've been nice if Wisconsin could've scored more than 47 points in the process, but hey, survive and advance. RIGHT MSU? RIGHT? I CALL 5 11 SEED OR HIGHER UPSETS CORRECTLY, GET EVERY SINGLE 8-9 GAME CORRECT, AND FOR THE FIRST YEAR EVER I LOSE MY NATIONAL CHAMPION IN THE FIRST ROUND. I COULDN'T EVEN ENJOY CALLING A 14 OVER 3 CORRECTLY FOR THE SECOND TIME IN 3 YEARS AFTER THAT.

So leading up to the Xavier game, I spent all day at work so I couldn't properly enjoy getting overhyped about the game. I was still at work during the first half, and last year I was working at a sports bar, so obviously that works well from a "watching the game" perspective. It doesn't work quite as well at a martini lounge. It wasn't until I was out at one of my more regular bars that I could sit down and watch the game while enjoying the cool refreshment of a Pabst Blue Ribbon. And I started to really need them, because it looked like this game was going to slip away, It's slightly embarrassing when your team that you've devoted blood, sweat, and tears to is down 8 and the female you're with whose knowledge of college basketball boils down to "Go Spartans! Tom Izzo is from Iron Mountain" and "Well I'm a bandwagon Badger fan because I live here" ends up being more right than you. I had given up hope at 61-53. She said there was still plenty of time. I'm never going to be able to live that down, for hell could not create an annoyance greater than when a woman doesn't even have to hear you admit she's right when she ends up being right. I'M SORRY I DOUBTED YOU AND YOUR CLUTCHNESS BRONSON, IT WON'T HAPPEN AGAIN. It's a small price to pay to be able to enjoy what Purdue, MSU, Michigan, and Iowa failed to do and reach the Sweet 16. An even smaller price to pay to be able to enjoy what no other school in the nation has been able to enjoy and reach the Sweet 16 the last 3 years in a row. See you in the Final Four Indiana and Maryland.