March Madness 2000, eighth seeded Wisconsin had already gone through Fresno State, upset first seed Arizona, and knocked off LSU to enter a matchup with conference rival Purdue in the Elite Eight. The Badgers had already beaten the Boilermakers twice in regular season play. Mike Kelley was a guard for the Badgers and knew his team had what it took to pull out a third win and reach the Final Four, a feat they hadn’t done in nearly six decades.
“We were very much a team that relied on everybody to play their role and play together and I think that’s why we were able to sneak up on people.”
After only a sixth place finish in the Big Ten that year, the Badgers surprised a lot of people. In fact, 40,000 fans watched as Kelley made two free throws in the final 10.6 seconds to beat Purdue 64-60 and advance. That was only the second time in school history Wisconsin made it to the Final Four.
Kelley recalls, “It was a very emotional locker room. There were some tears. You realize this is a part of something special.”
Shining Moments in Badger History is sponsored by Marshfield Clinic.
Shining Moments radio feature for February 24, 2014 – Badgers beat Purdue to go to Final Four