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Remember The Last Time Wisconsin Basketball Missed the Tournament?

Probably not because it was a long, long time ago

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The average (mean, not median, and of course not f-ing mode) college sophomore woke up Saturday morning in a world he or she had never experienced before—a world where Wisconsin Men’s Basketball will miss the NCAA Tournament. For nineteen straight years Wisconsin has been in the most fun, least useful for determining a true “best” team, and most vasectomy-adjacent postseason event in sports. Sure, one time they squeaked in as like a 12 seed and they only made the Final Four twice and only suffered one soul-crushing championship game loss across those nineteen years, but they were always in the mix on Selection Sunday. Wisconsin spent a lot of time as the trendy “going to be the first top 5 seed to lose” pick but only lost in the R64 or R32 to a 12 seed or lower once.

Please forget what happened five gametime minutes later

Rather than a retrospective wherein we all celebrate the past nineteen years of Wisconsin brilliance and consistency and mourn the end of the Golden Age of college men’s basketball, we’re going to reminisce about a time when we had to rely on things other than Wisconsin basketball to fill our worlds with goodness:


That’s right, 1998. I was younger then, and I suspect many of you were as well. Some of you weren’t humans yet. 1998 was the last calendar year during which the NCAA held a postseason championship and didn’t invite Wisconsin. Who even won that year?

Oh that’s right, Kentucky, helmed by future Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith. What a bust he turned out to be. 2-seed Kentucky beat 3-seed Utah in the finals, 2-seed Purdue reached the Elite Eight (dead giveaway that Matt Painter wasn’t the coach), and 4-seed MSU lost by 15 to UNC. Lol. Future conference BFF’s Illinois and Maryland even got to play!

As this is also a college football website, a reminder that 1998 was the year of the inaugural BCS Championship! Although technically won in the early days of 1999, the Tennessee Volunteers were... well, let’s just let Wikipedia handle it:

The 1998 NCAA Division I-A football season was the first of the Bowl Championship Series, which saw Tennessee win the national championship, one year after star quarterback Peyton Manning left for the NFL.

Manning’s lack of a championship taints his legacy, so it’s a little amusing that his team won the second he stopped playing for them, stopped tainting the lockerroom with his presence. The Vols took down Florida State, while preseason #1 Ohio State settled for a BCS Bowl invite. #9 Wisconsin won the Rose Bowl and it was the first year of Army in Conference USA!

Enough with the boring paragraphs where you have to read for more than a sentence. Let’s get to what OTE’s best at: Lists and/or Bullets

Other Sports Things

  • John Elway and the Broncos won their 2nd Super Bowl in a row, beating the Atlanta Falcons. This was also the year the refs blew the coin toss on Thanksgiving
  • Okay so one more 1998 NFL season thing:

During the NFC Championship Game, Gary Anderson missed a field goal for the first time that season. Had the field goal been converted, it would have given the Vikings an nearly-insurmountable 10-point lead late in the game. Instead, the Falcons tied the game on their ensuing drive and won by a field goal in sudden death overtime. Due to his historic performance during the season, Anderson’s missed kick has since been noted as a major event in NFL history.

The 1998 Vikings were the first NFL team to compile a regular season record of 15–1 and not win the Super Bowl


[kindly fuck off —MNW]

  • Yankees swept the Padres in the World Series, Jordan and the Bulls completed their second three-peat, and the Red Wings swept the Capitals
  • Winter Olympics featured professional hockey players for the first time
  • Curling enters the Winter Olympics!
  • The Homerun Chase and Sosa and McGwire “saving” baseball; Cal Ripken’s games-played streak ending
  • I guess Nebraska and Michigan spent most of 1998 as reigning CFB co-champs too, with Nebraska winning the Bowl Alliance championship and Michigan relying on things off the playing field for its lofty reputation yet again

Other Things From 1998 that it’s Fun to Remember Were Things and Be Surprised How Long Ago They Were Things

  • Saving Private Ryan, Shakespeare in Love, The Big Lebowski, American History X, A Bug’s Life, The Truman Show, There’s Something About Mary, Rushmore, Mulan, (one glaring omission that gets its own special section later)
  • Ocarina of Time, Banjo-Kazooie, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil 2, StarCraft, 1080 Snowboarding, Pokemon Red and Blue, Half Life, Dance Dance Revolution, Baldur’s Gate
  • My Heart Will Go On, I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing, Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It, Ghetto Superstar, Hard Knock Life, Just the Two of Us, and the My Heart Will Go On at least ten more times per hour
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, N64, Gameboy Color, Furby, Tamagotchi

Boy Bands - An Interlude

Too important for a mere single bullet, each of the things Graham wanted you to remember about boy bands in 1998 gets its own bullet

  • Boy Band mania - BSB already had a monster album under their belt, but their utter dominance would be short lived as NSYNCs debut album was dropping all over 1998
  • don’t forget about 98 degrees bursting onto the scene with Because Of You

Back To “Other Things From 1998 that it’s Fun to Remember Were Things and Be Surprised How Long Ago They Were Things”

  • Dawson’s Creek, Fox & Friends, CatDog, Toon Disney, Celebrity Deathmatch, Sex and the City, Whose Line, That ‘70s Show, King of Queens, Will and Grace the first time, Charmed ALL debuted in 1998
  • Beakman’s World, The Secret World of Alex Mack, Seinfeld, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Animaniacs, and Singled Out all ended

Things the Other Writers Offered Up

What were your favorite and/or the best things about 1998?


  • 14 ppg 6rpg 2 steals per game ...was considered tall for 8th grade. Sadly stopped growing.
  • Good Will Hunting
  • Neutral Milk Hotel did something something something Bob Dylan
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt (more on that later)
  • Jordan over Russell (ed. note: Was this the game where Jordan shoved a dude as hard as he could and then hit a shot from the 10’ clear circle he’d created from himself and we’re all supposed to be impressed?)
  • My mom bought a nice Chevy Lumina, got the LTZ seat covering too, that thing drove sweet for 10 years, was a boat but yea.


  • Not being able to be charged as an adult yet?
  • Having the time and energy to be playing sports all the time. Football, golf, football, baseball, football, basketball and more football. Ahh, football. And my hole in one.
  • Before These Crowded Streets wasn’t terrible, but it was really different than Crash.
  • Baseketball!!!
  • Michigan got -15 yards rushing in their game against Minnesota in 1998 (Yet we still lost.)


  • Eve 6 self titled and Cake Prolonging the Magic came out. Super Smash Bros. Was about to come out
  • 9 years in exile. 1998 was my first full year back.
  • Rushmore, Rounders, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Ronin, Out of Sight, Dark City
  • Some dumb opinion about Deep Impact being better than Armageddon

Andrew K:

  • Finally got an N64


  • Dale Earnhardt winning the Daytona 500
  • Meeting Dale Earnhardt


  • Boy bands
  • I had a pair of short overalls with Winnie the Pooh on them and thought them VERY cool.
  • New VW Beetle released
  • Beanie Babies, maybe?
  • Nebraska was good at football (Michigan too! cried Graham)

Aaron Yorke:

  • Three video games I listed above. Good taste my man!


  • Definitely Pokemon Red and Blue.
  • No sports that I can think of. None come to mind in 1998.

Things Grown-Ups Probably Cared About

  • Bill Clinton impeachment, Monica Lewinsky, investigations by a special prosecutor, learning how sex works from deposition transcripts
  • Eric Rudolph, Titanic wins everything, Dow 9000, Animal Kingdom opens, Microsoft gets sued, GM strike
  • Google founded, McGwire hits 62, John Glenn is old and in space, The Body elected governor
  • John Glenn is old but back from space
Look at these guys!

And of course, the thing from 1998 you wasted 10 seconds scrolling to find, the best thing about 1998, objectively, and historically the best movie never to be nominated for an Academy Award:

Can’t Hardly Wait

Seems like the perfect way to end

There you have it: the definitive list of everything of note that happened in 1998. Everyone try to enjoy your year without Wisconsin basketball in the NCAA Tournament, and we’ll see you all as a 5 seed in 2019!


Best thing from 1998?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    Can’t Hardly Wait
    (39 votes)
  • 34%
    Ocarina of Time
    (42 votes)
  • 9%
    Boy Bands
    (12 votes)
  • 8%
    Something newsy, like John Glenn in space
    (10 votes)
  • 14%
    Other (answer in the comments
    (18 votes)
121 votes total Vote Now