VIDEO: UW-Milwaukee Men's Basketball Team Literally Dances into 'Big Dance' NCAA Tournament
With two Wisconsin basketball teams heading to the "Big Dance," March Madness has hit Milwaukee hard.
While the men of the UW-Milwaukee Panthers head to Buffalo, N.Y., to face number two seed Villanova, the Wisconsin Badgers will open at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
The two UW schools are the only men's basketball teams in Wisconsin to win bids to compete in the annual NCAA men's basketball tournament.
This is the first time in eight years that Marquette University's team has failed to make the tournament after losing the Big East last week, while the UWM Panthers are back for the first time since 2006. Marquette also failed to get a bid into the NIT.
UWM, which surprised many observers by winning the Horizon League tournament, received a number 15 ranking and will play on Thursday.
As you can see below, the team is pretty "happy" to be playing in the tournament.
The University of Wisconsin Badgers have a number 2 ranking and will play #15 American, in downtown Milwaukee on Thursday.
Thousands of basketball fans will flock here to watch the opening round. In addition to Wisconsin vs. American, the other schools headed to town for games are Oregon vs. BYU, Michigan vs. Wofford and Texas vs. Arizona State.
The winners of the games will play in the regional finals on Saturday, with two teams advancing to the Sweet 16.
There are a few ways to cheer on the Badgers in Milwaukee before Thursday's game. On Wednesday, March 19 at 6 PM, UW Athletics is hosting a free, pre-game pep rally at the Milwaukee Theatre. The UW Spirit Squad, UW Band and Bucky Badger will be in attendance. Badgers fans can also attend an open practice at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Wednesday for free. The practice time will be announced on UWBadgers.com.