Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Wisconsin seasons not lost

Cheer up, Badger fans.

I know these past few days have been a tough time for the
faithful of the Cardinal and White. The men’s basketball team bowed out in the
NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 to the hot-shooting Stephen Curry and Davidson. And
the men’s hockey team fell at home in a tough overtime loss to North Dakota,
costing them a trip to the Frozen Four in Denver.

In fact, after the hockey team lost Sunday, head coach Mike
Eaves compared his emotions to those of his coaching counterpart, Bo Ryan.

“I think as Bo Ryan talked about, when you lose and you’re
so close, it stings,” Eaves said. “It stings deeply, and one of the things we
talked about after the game is that you’ve got to use that for next year.”

While the losses for both Badger teams may sting for quite
some time — maybe perhaps until their new seasons begin, as Eaves mentioned — they
can both hold their heads high for the way things played out this year.

Looking back to the fall, neither was predicted to make much
noise in their respective conferences. For Bo’s bunch, they had to make up for
the loss of stars Alando Tucker and Kammron Taylor. As a team without a true
go-to threat, they were projected to finish behind Michigan State and Ohio


Eaves and his crew were in the same boat. The team came in
with a lot of youth — just four seniors graced the roster, and the majority of
the key players were either freshmen or sophomores — and weren’t seen as a club
that could compete with some of the top teams in the WCHA, arguably the
toughest conference in college hockey.

But here we are now, as both seasons have drawn to a close
in the same weekend, reflecting on the year that was. And for all of you who
doubted these two Badger programs before play began, by now you are likely to
have rethought your early assumptions.

Bo led his team to not only a regular season Big Ten title,
but the conference tournament crown as well. With a more balanced roster than
the one in 2006-07 — a team that could be shut down if Tucker was contained — Wisconsin
managed to gain a No. 3 seed in the Big Dance. Once there, they topped Cal
State Fullerton in the opening round and dispensed of freshman phenom Michael
Beasley and Kansas State in the second.

Eaves and his young team–despite finishing with a
less-than-ideal regular season record — found themselves in the field of 16 for
the NCAA Tournament as well, getting to play on their home ice. And while most
in the hockey business didn’t think Wisconsin belonged in the postseason, a 6-2
win in the first round against Denver made a statement that they could contend.

“We came in here with something to prove,” UW goalie Shane
Connelly said in the locker room after Sunday’s loss. “We beat a very good Denver
team, and we went wire-to-wire with the No. 1 overall seed in our division.”

“A lot of people picked Denver to come out of this (region),
but I think by beating them pretty handily, we proved something,” assistant
captain Ben Street said. “It’s frustrating at the same time because we felt we
were good enough to win this game.”

The sense of frustration felt by Street is one that was
likely felt by everyone from Brian Butch to Kyle Turris, and by the thousands
of fans that stuck with both teams through thick and thin. Losses are tough,
and they often make it hard for teams to look back and take pride in what has
been accomplished.

But neither season could be counted as a lost year.
Obviously, both fell short of the ultimate goal of a national championship. But
proving naysayers wrong and getting farther than anyone anticipated has to
count for something, right?

For all of you still nursing the wounds from this weekend’s
playoff losses, hopefully this helps. If you’re like me and have been receiving
calls and messages from friends who want to rub in the games, just tune them

And if they’re Gopher fans, ask them how their football team
is doing.


Tyler is a junior majoring in journalism. If you disagree
with him and think either team was a disappointment this season, let him know
[email protected].

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *