Madison (WQOW) -- If it's possible for a team to be motivated, focused, and loose before the biggest game of a season, the Badgers may be that team.
This year's Final Four field has experience on the big stage: Kentucky's there for the 17th time, Duke is in its16th Final Four, Michigan State its 9th, while Wisconsin is there four the fourth time. The Badgers made two appearances in the 1940's, and two more these past two seasons.
The Badgers take a 35-3 record to the 2015 Final Four. Those 35 wins are a program single-season record. Since 2000, Wisconsin's been considered a solid program, but not elite, although these last two years have certainly changed the outside world's perceptions.
"Around the Big Ten, Wisconsin's always been on the map," says Badgers junior forward Sam Dekker, "but around the national circuit, I think this is solidifying Wisconsin as a household name and back to back Final Fours is pretty cool and something they can't take away from us."
"I think Wisconsin basketball, we're trying to take it to the next level," says Badgers junior guard Josh Gasser, "it's always been really really good and we're trying to make it one of the best, hopefully this is a stepping stone as to what's to come as accept nothing less than Final Fours, national championships and Big Ten championships."
Appearing on the national stage comes with its share of pressure, but it doesn't seem to be bothering the Badgers. At Monday's news conference, four of the starters and coach Bo Ryan were wise cracking their way through the proceedings. This team has been loose all year and that apparently won't change heading into the biggest weekend of the season.
"It's like being a kid again, being around them," says Ryan, "but when we get on the floor, and we do anything basketball-wise, I never have to worry about it...they can separate."
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