Varsity - The Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics

Varsity - April 3, 2014

Varsity is the free Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics, covering Badgers football, basketball, hockey and more each week.

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56 // VARSITY April 3, 2014 INSIDE MEN'S BASKETBALL Worth the wait: Final Four concludes historic run Extended season concludes in Arlington, Texas BY JEREMY WODAJO @BADGERMBB W hen asked about climbing the lad- der to cut down the net last weekend in Anaheim after securing a Final Four berth, UW head coach Bo Ryan reached back to his days as the head coach at UW-Platteville, when he had multiple oppor- tunities to cut down nets as a four-time Division III national champion. "In Division I they had a sturdier ladder," Ryan re- marked. "In Division III it was tough (with) budget cuts, the budget." All jokes aside, Ryan and the Badgers enter this week as one of four teams remaining in the hunt for the most prized possession in all of college basketball: the national cham- pionship trophy. As the team prepares for its national semifinal showdown with eighth-seeded Kentucky on Saturday, Ryan keeps it simple when reflecting on the long jour- ney. "Well, it's another week of practice," Ryan said. "That's great." On the surface, Ryan seems grateful to be one of four squads still standing fol- lowing three weekends of tournament play. But underneath that is the recol- lection of just how long this season has been for the Badgers. After beginning practices in July to prep for an international tour that in- cluded five games in Canada, the team also began regular-season practices two weeks earlier than usual in late Septem- ber. "Boy, this is quite the journey," Ryan said. "We've had more practices, and we've been together more than any team I've ever coached. "If you take the hours that this squad has been together, by far, and we still get along. We still talk to one another. So that's not bad." UW will remain together for a few more practices this week with their sights set on accomplishing one final goal before ending the elongated 2013-14 campaign at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. "It's been very enjoyable because we've got young men that are outstand- ing and really know how to handle every- thing that's been given," Ryan said. "It's always nice when you see in their eyes that they're so excited about this, to be able to play again. That's why we do it." SCHEDULE (30-7) LAST TIME OUT - WEST REGIONAL March 27 vs. #6 Baylor W, 69-52 March 29 vs. #1 Arizona W, 64-63(OT) COMING UP - FINAL FOUR Saturday vs. #8 Kentucky 7:49 p.m.

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