Feeling red today?

Today needs some music …

… because it’s a big Badger day.

The men’s basketball team plays Baylor in the NCAA West Regional semifinal in Anaheim at 6:47 p.m. on TBS, followed 15 minutes or so later by the hockey team’s facing off against former Western Collegiate Hockey Association archrival North Dakota in the Midwest Regional semifinal in Cincinnati at 7 p.m. on ESPNU.

The basketball Sweet 16 berth came after UW’s come-from-behind win over Oregon Saturday …

… which ended just before the Badgers’ 5–4 overtime win over Ohio State …

… to win the first Big Ten hockey title. The Badgers were going to get an NCAA berth anyway, but to win a tournament is cool, particularly when it ends the season of O!S!U!.

This is not usual for fans of Wisconsin sports. Recall that in 1982 the Brewers were playing in the American League Championship Series during a Badger football win at Ohio State, and in 2008 the Brewers were playing for a playoff berth during a Packer game. Those are the only two instances that immediately come to mind with two simultaneous huge games for Wisconsin fans. (Which means you should replace your TV remote batteries before tipoff.)

In 1982 and 2008 the Brewers had to win to keep playing. Tonight, the Badgers also have to win to keep playing. It is therefore possible that both teams could win, which would set up Final Four- and Frozen Four-berth-clinching games Saturday. (The West Region final appears to be at either 5 or 7:30 p.m., and the Midwest Regional final is at 5:30 p.m.) It is also possible that both teams could lose, depressing an entire state’s sports fans, who should nevertheless be thrilled that UW teams are playing far better than, in the case of the basketball team, their long and inglorious history. (As in 47 years between NCAA tournament berths.)

As you know, I didn’t have Wisconsin playing basketball after last Saturday. (Which demonstrates why you should be pessimistic about your teams — either you’re right, or you’re happy because you’re wrong.) Tonight’s game seems to be a repeat of Oregon, right down to the green uniforms, unless Baylor wears its black uniforms …

… though Baylor may be better than Oregon. Wisconsin’s traditional style of play usually requires the Badgers stay ahead the entire game to win; big second-half comebacks are usually not a recipe for a Badger win, though “usually” does not mean “always” …

The hockey game, meanwhile, is a renewal of the former WCHA rivalry between the Badgers and the Fighting Sioux, which includes one of the most bizarre incidents in the history of college hockey.

The Wisconsin State Journal’s Phil Hands contributes …

And remember …

Well, that’s embarrassing: This blog would have been great had I not incorrectly reported the Badger hockey game’s day of the week. It’s Friday, not tonight. Hopefully UW wins tonight and Friday to validate my premise.



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