When the Badgers takes the court against Davidson tonight, most fans will be rooting for the "underdog" Davidson.
Mike Ogle of the the New York Times points out that the fans and sports commentators have it wrong.
While the Wildcats of Davidson were ranked in the preseason top twenty-five, the Badgers, who won the regular season and Big Ten Tournament, were not even mentioned.
Davidson boasts players from 6 states, 6 countries and 3 continents, while the Badgers are mainly home grown.
Coach Bo Ryan spent 15 years coaching UW Platteville, a Division 3 school in Southwestern Wisconsin before being given a chance by UWM.
OK, Bo hails from Pennsylvania. But that was a long, long time ago. And Pennsylvania a lot like Wisconsin in any case.
Eleven of Wisconsin's players hail from the state including starters Brian Butch (Appleton), Michael Flowers (Madison) and Greg Landry (Milwaukee). And Trevon Hughes went to St. John's Military Academy in Delafield. The only starter not from Wisconsin is Joe Krabbenhof from the basketball hotbed of South Dakota! Wisconsin's sixth man, Jason Bohannon, is from Iowa.
The Badgers have done it with local talent, teamwork and grit.
Other than Butch, a solid player who has never quite lived up to his high school All American status, the Badgers were not considered top tier recruits. But they are better athletes than they are given credit for and have bought into Ryan's defense first, share the ball, deliberate swing offense to become one of the best teams in the nation. They are proving that the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.
For those of us who attended Wisconsin in the very lean days of Eno Hendrickson, the Badger's current success is all the sweeter. On Wisconsin !