The Wisconsin Badgers beat American University on Thursday, 75 to 35. The UW men's basketball team now advances to the Round of 32 and will play Oregon at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Saturday.
The Badgers held an open practice at the Bradley Center on Wednesday. Several hundred people sat in a roped off area of the stands. They found some baskets the players made - even at practice, worth cheering.
Dave Maisa of Milwaukee says he’s been a Wisconsin fan most of his life and March Madness is his favorite time of year.
“It’s the biggest basketball thing in the country. This is it, right here.”
Maisa says he won’t be able to make this morning’s game featuring the Badgers, but hopes to attend the Michigan game later today.
“My buddy has good connections. It’s always good to know someone in the know,” Maisa says.
David Geldon of Milwaukee is decked out in red. He says his son attended UW-Madison and the family is Badger crazy.
“Our basement has Badger caves, it’s always been that way. Badger caves, meaning the rec rooms are all red and white, paraphrenalia from 20, 30 years ago. I really can’t explain it, I just fell in love with the Badgers,” Geldon says.
Geldon has high hopes the Badgers will make it to the Final Four. It’s been a while since they did that well. Alice Schultz remembers.
“Yep, I was a freshman when they went to the Final Four. That was a long time ago,” Schultz says.
Schultz says she can’t attend the tournament games in Milwaukee but wanted to take advantage of the chance to see her favorite team practice, for free. She drove in from Germantown with her two-year-old son. While the UW grad won’t see the tournament in person, plenty of other basketball fans will.
Visit Milwaukee expects 15, 000 people to travel here for the NCAA regional and pump more than $4 million into the local economy.