When Alando Tucker returned as a senior, it set the stage for one of the most exciting seasons in the history of the men’s basketball program at the University of Wisconsin.
The 2006-07 Badgers were dominant throughout the regular season, going 26-2 and earning a No. 1 ranking in the AP poll for the first time in school history before losing back-to-back games at Michigan State and Ohio State heading into the Big Ten Tournament.
Two of the most exciting games in Kohl Center history came during the 2006-07 season as the Badgers defeated a pair of top-five teams at home. First, the then-No. 7 Badgers upset the then-No. 2 Pittsburgh Panthers in impressive fashion. Tucker dominated the Panthers, along with forward Brian Butch, as the Badgers’ one-two punch scored 32 and 27 points, respectively.
A month later, then-No. 4 Wisconsin welcomed then-No. 5 Ohio State to the Kohl Center for a matchup that more than lived up to expectations. UW came out on top, 72-69, in a thriller that helped the Badgers assert themselves in the top five for the remainder of the season.
Tucker led the Badgers throughout the 2006-07 season, as Wisconsin finished No. 6 in the final AP poll. By scoring 716 points, Tucker became the first player in program history to score more than 700 points in a season. The 6-foot-6 forward also hit 256 field goals on the year, another school record.
Following the season, the Lockport, Ill., native was the first consensus First-Team All-American for UW since 1942 and Big Ten Player of the Year. Tucker also earned finalist honors for every national player of the year award.
Still, Tucker’s best moment was yet to come.
With forward Brian Butch sidelined by an elbow injury suffered at Ohio State in late February, Tucker led the Badgers to the Big Ten Tournament final. Yet, despite their best efforts, they were no match for the Mike Conley and Greg Oden-led Buckeyes.
The tournament semifinal a day earlier was his most memorable moment of the season, however.
As the then-No. 3 Badgers downed Illinois 53-41 in the semifinals of the 2007 Big Ten Tournament, Tucker put up 21 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field en route to becoming the all-time career scoring leader at Wisconsin.
Tucker was one of the most electrifying athletes in the history of the Wisconsin men’s basketball program, and his run in 2006-07 toward breaking Devin Harris’ single-season and Michael Finley’s career scoring marks was one of the decade’s greatest Wisconsin sports moments.