Name: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Location: Madison, Wisconsin, the state capital of the otherwise beautiful state of Wisconsin.
Enrollment: 44,413 misguided souls, 30,361 of them ruining their lives as undergraduates
School Colors: Cardinal and white, officially, but no one is going to yell at you if you say red and white.
Appropriate use of names: It’s hard to argue with their decision to call the red “cardinal” since, as AE Editor Emeritus Rubie Q once pointed out, Wisconsin fans have become the St. Louis Cardinals fans of college sports.
Why “Badgers?” Wisconsin was dubbed the “Badger State” because of the miners who first settled there in the 1820s and 1830s. Without shelter in the winter, they had to “live like badgers” in tunnels burrowed into hillsides. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from there to naming the sports teams of the flagship university after the state’s nickname.
Potential Alternative Nickname: Popcorn Skunks
Notable Alumni: Literally no one interesting or relevant has ever graduated from the University of Wisconsin. By definition, Wisconsin graduates can not be notable.
Campus Traditions: Pretending that they own the complete and full rights to House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around,’ interrupting graduation ceremonies to play ‘Jump Around’ because they think they own it, yelling at teenagers on Twitter because said teenagers don’t want to go to their school, illegally acquiring shoes, yelling at teenagers on Twitter because said teenagers changed their minds about going to their school, getting paid millions of dollars to trip and fall, failing to help a star player play a home game as a senior, microwaving parrots, quitting your job in the middle of the busy part of the year, failing to out-slow Virginia, spending hundreds of dollars on custom clothing and then being sad that no one noticed, missing the NCAA tournament for 46 consecutive years and then pretending that never happened after making the tourney for 10+ straight years, burglary, being a millionaire and calling teenagers soft, harassing stenographers who are just trying to do their damn jobs, being a pantsless freak who Facebook stalks women and as a result has no friends on campus, punching basketballs into teammates’ faces, and finally, using Photoshop to try to pretend that they have a racially diverse campus.
Last Season: 15-18, with a 7-11 record in Big Ten play. They lost to Michigan State in the Big Ten tournament to end their season.
Final KenPom.com 2017-18 Ranking: #70
This Season: 8-1, failing to out-slow Virginia yet once again.
Current KenPom Ranking: #12
Points: Ethan Happ, 17.7 ppg
Rebounds: Ethan Happ, 10.8 rpg
Assists: Ethan Happ, 5.0 apg
Wait, really? Yep. Impressively, those three numbers are all better than Happ’s numbers heading into last year’s Marquette/Wisconsin game, as he led UW in all three categories then, too. Thanks to his multidimensional talents (although that doesn’t include shooting the ball anywhere outside of the lane), he’s currently ranked #2 in the country in KenPom’s Player of the Year calculations.
Shooters? I’m going to diverge from our usual scheduled segment where we discuss potential threats on the roster to instead pay attention to something that Marquette should not pay attention to during the game. Khalil Iverson has not put a ball through the rim from outside the three-point arc since January 31, 2017. He went 2-for-2 against Illinois that day to move himself to 4-for-11 on the season. Since then, Iverson has missed 28 consecutive three-point attempts, including his first two of this season. In the name of all that’s holy, don’t bother defending Iverson if he’s behind the arc. Feel free to sag backwards to the lane to help on Happ at all costs because who cares if he passes it to Iverson, or double D’Mitrik Trice, who is inexplicably shooting 60% on threes this season and can not possibly keep that up much longer. Change your plan if Iverson miraculously makes one for the first time in nearly two years.
Head Coach: Greg Gard was named head coach after Bo Ryan just up and quit his job after losing to Marquette in the 2015-16 season. Gard is now in his fourth season overall and third full season. His record so far is 65-37.
What’s his record against Steve Wojciechowski? A delightful 1-1. And he’s never won in Fiserv Forum, where Wojo is undefeated.
All Time Series: Wisconsin leads 67-57 in the all time series.