Badgers 2012 Year in Review: No. 3 – Basketball makes run to Sweet 16

It's time… time for the New Year to begin, but before we get there it's also time for us to hit on the biggest stories of the year and on our countdown we've reached the cream of the crop… Yes, the top 3 stories of 2012. We last left off talking about one of the greatest records in all of college football – as No. 4 was Montee Ball breaking the career TD record

So, what the heck did it take to make the Top 3? Well, it takes team success and when you say team success I'm not sure if there's any more of a perfect picture than Wisconsin basketball. After all, they've never missed the NCAA tournament under Bo Ryan. But, what they did in 2012 was one of the best feats of the Bo Ryan era – making the Sweet 16.

What Happened: Wisconsin looked like a fish out of water at times during the beginning of the Big Ten, starting that portion of the season at 1-3 and needing to play well in stretches of the remaining schedule just to get into the NCAA tournament. Instead, they did much better than that, earning a No. 4 seed thanks to some major wins and entering the tournament 24-9. 

They dispensed of Montana in the opening tilt, winning 73-49, a game who's final score didn't tell the whole story as Wisconsin was kept close for stretches of the game. Up next was a preseason sleeper in Vanderbilt and it was a heck of a basketball game that played out with the Badgers escaping with a 60-57 victory. It was on the back of the nation's stingiest defense that the victory happened as they held the Commodores' leading scorers to just 13 and 9 points on the day. 

Wisconsin then took on No. 1 seed Syracuse in a classic affair and nearly made it past the favored Orange. Hell, Wisconsin made a 15-5 run in the 2nd half to close the gap that was wide open, scoring all 15 of their points from beyond the arc. However, thanks to a series of terrible plays to end the contest never gave the Badgers a great chance at winning the game. If you need a reminder of the end of the game… Here it is in video form for you.

In the end it was perhaps the most memorable run in the NCAA tournament since Wisconsin made the 2000 final four and easily the most memorable run under Bo Ryan.

Why it's Here: Had Wisconsin played it's way further into the NCAA tournament it would've been higher and it's hard to argue another team had a bigger 2012 than the Badgers basketball team, but strange events on the football field or off of it make it difficult to put it higher on the list. 

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, as well as Publisher of Big Ten site