July 26, 2014

Shining Moments in Badger History: Win against Purdue to make Final Four

Badgers win over Purdue

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.”

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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.”

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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

Shining Moments in Badger History: contribution to the “Miracle on Ice”

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It’s known as the Miracle on Ice. It was on February 22, during the medal round of the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Team USA skated onto the ice against Russia, who had won gold medals in six of the seven previous Olympics and was heavily favored to take home another. The young USA squad included Badgers Bob Suter and Mark Johnson.

“If you look at the story and setup of the game and what we were up against, it’s the ultimate David and Goliath situation,” said Johnson. “We trained very hard to put ourselves in a position to have success there, and now it was just a matter of executing.”

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Down 3-2 in the third Mark Johnson and Mike Eruzione both scored to give Team USA the 4-3 lead, enough to seal the win and stun the world.  In what then was a round robin style of play, Team USA went on to beat Finland to secure the gold medal. Russia won silver by defeating Sweden.

Johnson says, “One of the things it was able to do was show the world that Americans can play at this level.”

The game is widely regarded as one of the greatest sports moments of the 20th century.

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Shining Moments in Badger History is sponsored by Marshfield Clinic.
Shining Moments radio feature for 02-17-14 Miracle on Ice

Shining Moments in Badger History: 1983 Badgers beat North Dakota in 3 overtimes

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In the semifinals of the 1983 WCHA Playoffs, Wisconsin faced North Dakota in Fargo. Badger center John Johannson says it was a matchup he’ll never forget.

“They had tremendous players. We had tremendous players. And it was about impossible to beat them in Grand Forcks at their arena.”

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Neither team scored until the third period when North Dakota jumped to a quick two to nothing lead. Chris Chelios would tie the game, sending it to the first of what would eventually be three overtimes.

“It’s overtime, we win the draw to the boards.  He takes it goes around a guy, goes around Jon Casey, tucks it in. I mean it was very good hockey.”

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Three weeks later, Wisconsin went on to the win the NCAA Frozen Four.

Shining Moments in Badger History is sponsored by Marshfield Clinic.
Shining Moments Radio Feature 02-10-14 Badgers go into triple overtime against North Dakota

Shining Moments in Badger History: Joe Franklin

Joe Franklin

March 2, 1968. During Team Captain Joe Franklin’s final season at Wisconsin, the Purdue Boiler Makers traveled to Madison to take on the Badgers and Franklin pulled down a career high 27 rebounds in that game. It was nothing too surprising for a player who had become known for knowing exactly where the ball was going to be.

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Bill Scott talked to Franklin’s coach John Erickson, who remembers Franklin as a force.

“He was the great rebounder. Joe loved that style. He was a joy to coach. He loved the game. He understood the game. He loved to rebound. He was just a player. We let him play. And it didn’t matter who he played against, he was Joe Franklin and I’ll tell ya, they had their hands full with him.”

Franklin’s rebounds helped the Badgers secure a 104-84 win over the Boilermakers. He ended his collegiate basketball career one week later having accumulated 858 boards for what is still a school record at 11.9 rebounds a game. That year, Franklin was also chosen as a first team All-Big Ten selection after securing another school record with 544 points. Franklin went on to play for the Milwaukee Bucks.

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Shining Moments in Badger History is sponsored by Marshfield Clinic.
Shining Moments radio feature for 1-20-14 Joe Franklin

Shining Moments in Badger History: Beating Boston College for 6th NCAA Hockey Title

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April 8, 2006. The Badgers skated onto Bradley Center ice with some much earned confidence. Wisconsin was at the end of a stellar season that included an outdoor game at Lambeau, a win against Ohio State and sweeps of North Dakota and biggest rival Minnesota, and the triple overtime game at Green Bay that sent the Badgers to the Frozen Four. All that stood in the way was Boston College.

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It was a tight game. The Eagles jumped out to an early lead. But the Badgers would battle back with Robbie Earl tying the game shortly into the second. Then at 9:32 into the third quarter, senior Tom Gilbert’s goal put the Badgers back on top where they would stay, beating Boston College 2-1 and earning their sixth national title and first since 1990.

“Good teams are always going to push back and we took advantage of a power play late in the game and made it count,” said Gilbert, continuing, “I think what should be mentioned in that same breath is that there was a tremendous will. The will of that team was just as impressive as the skill.”

That year was etched into the history books for Wisconsin as the Badger women’s ice hockey team also took the 2006 NCAA Title.

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Shining Moments in Badger History is sponsored by Marshfield Clinic.
Shining Moments radio feature for 01-13-14 6th Men’s NCAA Hockey Title