As you're probably aware, Wisconsin upset Kentucky last night, which means all of middle-America is jubilant because good and CLASSY (Wisconsin) prevailed over evil and CLASSLESS (Kentucky). And since the only other team left in the tournament is Duke, pretty much everyone has jumped on the Wisconsin bandwagon. They have now taken on the role of AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS: the SCRAPPIEST, BLUE COLLAREST, GRITTIEST, LUNCH PAIL CARRYING group of fundamentally sound guys, EQUIPPED WITH UNMATCHED INTANGIBLES WHO PLAY THE GAME THE RIGHT WAY. No one has enjoyed the Badgers success more than UW alum, Jason Krause, however. Here's an interesting article from Jason that pretty much sums up their entire fan bases' sentiments.
The title is America Falls in Love with the Badgers.
*Barf. This guy must also be a St. Louis Cardinals fan.
This year, the team’s success was not such a surprise. The Badgers stayed near the top of the polls all year, earned a number one seed in the NCAA tournament, and played their way right back into the Final Four. But along the way, they’ve done something few other teams ever do on this stage — they’ve won America’s heart.
YES, WHAT AN ASTOUNDING OCCURRENCE. LOVABLE TOURNAMENT UNDERDOGS ARE SUCH A RARE THING. But no, Jason, they've won YOUR heart. This team doesn't do jack shit for me. I hate this team.
That’s not an easy thing to do. Consider the recent documentary I Hate Christian Laettner to see that court success does not equal popularity.
Profound source you're using here, Jason. But at least Christian Laettner KNEW he was a prick. Annoying antics aside, your team isn't popular because they are BORING. As much as I love watching them kill every second on the shot clock before jacking up yet another 3, it's mind numbing.
What’s most impressive is how easily it seems to come to this team. As Grantland’s Robert Mays wrote, "All tournament — from Frank Kaminsky hitting SportsCenter in capri sweatpants to Nigel Hayes’s stenography fascination — it’s been obvious that no one has been having more fun than Wisconsin."
Capri sweatpants you say? Almost as cute as his flopping. What a goofball that Frank Kaminsky is. ISN'T THE STENOGRAPHY PROCESS A FUCKING BLAST?! All teams who have not taken an interest in stenography, deduct 5 points from your overall likability. Forget better clock management down the stretch. IF ONLY YOU HAD MORE ATYPICAL FUN, KENTUCKY, YOU MIGHT HAVE WON.
The Badgers have put a full-court press on all media. Newspapers marvel at Wisconsin’s commitment to academics and chart Frank Kaminsky’s rise from unheralded recruit into Frank the Tank. On television, the squad is unfazed by celebrity, interviewing Will Ferrell for Access Hollywood and handling the media gauntlet like pros.
PHEW, GLAD TO SEE THE IDEA OF THE STUDENT-ATHLETE IS STILL ALIVE AND WELL IN MADISON. I bet the Kentucky kids skip all their classes. But make no mistake, Jason is underselling the media gauntlet. It's far more brutal than he makes it seem. Interviews, photo shoots, etc. It's practically war, and these Wisconsin kids are so nonchalant about the whole thing. AMAZING.
They’re not the coolest guys around. But they’re relaxed, a little goofy, and confident.
Nice humble brag there, Jason. OUR BOYS AREN'T THE FLASHY MACHO TYPES, AMERICA.
To see what I mean, just try to watch Frank Kaminsky do the Carlton and not be charmed:
No, I don't know what you mean, Jason, but thanks for providing a vine of Frank Kaminsky dancing that I will not attach below. ARE YOU NOT CHARMED?!
In fact, Wisconsin’s charm offensive is so overwhelming that Grantland’s Mark Titus (a former Ohio State men’s basketball benchwarmer) says, "I’m jealous of the fun Wisconsin is having," he writes. "I love this Wisconsin team so much that I hate them.
A fellow Big 10 guy loves our team, which is about as unbiased of a source as you will get! Also, that doesn't make any fucking sense, Mark. Do you love or hate them? Pick one. This is just who Wisconsin is: A close knit group of best friends who happen to be good at basketball and are just enjoying the ride, man. The Wisconsin Badgers: the only team in the 2015 NCAA tournament to experience fun.
I hate that they got to go to the Final Four last year, that it was so much fun that all the players who didn’t graduate came back, and that now they get to do it all over again."
Sports journalism at its finest, Mark. It's pieces like yours that make me strive for so much more.
The team even has a small celebrity following of its own, as Green Bay Packer’s quarterback Aaron Rodger has been shadowing the team, even taking junior forward Sam Dekker under his wing.
Thanks Rawwdguh's. Your bullshit fandom means the world to us. Cal fans must be stoked about Rodgers' multi-school allegiance! That's cool that he's taking Dekker under his wing though. I bet Jordy is super jealous.
While Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker have dominated on the court, Nigel Hayes (who’s also played well) has been killing it in press conferences.
Yes, Nigel, you have played well. But don't forget it's Frank the Tank and Dekker carrying this goddamn team. Your thing is press conferences, Nigel. So DON'T GET GREEDY AND FORGET YOUR ROLE.
He’s managed to be engaging, funny, and charming while giving jaded sportswriters something to print other than bland quotes about giving 110 percent.
You see, that's where you're wrong. You may think you're being funny and fresh but in reality, you're not, Wisconsin. The goofy and unconventional press conferences have already been done before. Many, many times. In fact, you should stop trying to be so quirky and instead just tell us all how you're giving it 110%. I would prefer it.
Sports blogger anonymouseagle even wrote a piece called Nigel Hayes Must Be Stopped. "I don’t mean on the court. I mean his ascendance to the role of America’s Sweetheart."
WAIT, WAIT, WAIT. NOT EVERYONE FINDS THIS TEAM ADORABLE?! SHOCKING, AMIRIGHT?
As we have documented, Nigel Hayes has turned his curiosity into the world of stenography into a running press conference gag. With every press conference he brings out a new, obscure, and polysyllabic word to make the stenographers for the press pool earn their keep.
Jesus, again with the stenography? In other words, he's essentially being a dick by using these long and obscure words for them to transcribe? Got it. So cute, Nigel! YOU BETTER EARN THAT PAYCHECK, LADIES.
The act was charming and fun, but Hayes’ cute game went thermonucular when a hot mike caught him telling teammates how beautiful he found the stenographer. Again, try to watch this video and not be charmed:
Oh, shit. Hayes' cute game done gone thermonuclear. Yes, I'm sure Nigel Hayes had no idea whatsoever that his mic was on when he called the stenographer beautiful. THESE BADGERS ARE TOO AUTHENTIC TO STAGE THEIR PRECIOUSNESS. Next: Watch Sam Dekker pick his nose and TRY NOT TO BE CHARMED.
And of course, every team needs a quirky, lovable benchwarmer/team mascot. Enter Aaron Moesch and his moustache, which he’s been growing since Wisconsin lost to Maryland late in the regular season. During the broadcast of the Wisconsin Badgers’ Sweet 16 victory over the North Carolina Tar Heels, a camera focused on Moesch celebrating in his mustachioed glory. The ‘stache has since gone viral, earning the hashtag #moeschstache.
OMG, NEVER HAVE I SEEN A GOOFY LOOKING ATHLETE SPORT EVEN GOOFIER FACIAL HAIR FOR ATTENTION. NOPE, NEVER. On another note, my brain is about to explode. On a team filled to the brim with lovable quirkiness, Aaron Moesch is the greatest of all?! That's really saying something. He must…be like Zooey Deschanel quirky.
The team’s on- and off-court success is almost certainly a byproduct of experience. In an era when few college stars stay more than a year, Wisconsin is led by a senior class that includes Frank Kaminsky, the best player in college basketball.
You hear that, NBA bound players who leave school early? Choose not to stay in school for four years and guys like Jason Krause will look down on you for cashing in on your talent. Jason, the 'stars' on your team have stayed for more than a year because most of them don't have the skill set that translates to the NBA. AW, IF ONLY HEART AND GRIT WERE MORE VALUED. Josh Gasser would be a franchise player!
And of course, Wisconsin’s fans have helped the cause. After beating Arizona on Saturday, Bo Ryan was concerned about State Street. "Did anybody hear anything about State Street tonight? Is everything okay?" he asked almost as soon as the game was won.
Good to know when Bo Ryan isn't bitching about every foul call a la John Harbaugh, he can show concern for others safety. This was the part of the article where Jason Krause needed to shout out Madison, because every UW person must beat you over the head with how amazingly rad Madison is. DERR BEST COLLEGE TOWN EVERS DERR.
(Que Jump Around)
Of course, Badger fans were elated but restrained. As you can see in images here, the fans are happy, enthusiastic, and polite.
Let's all continue to pat ourselves on the back, fellow Badger fans, for being flat out better than every other fan base in college sports.
So if you’re keeping score, the way to America’s heart begins with a love of stenography, embarrassing yourself in press conferences, talking a little too much in postgame interviews, growing out mustaches, and taking Final Four selfies.
The recipe for becoming the most unmindfully smug team in college basketball. Take notes, everyone!
Oh, and being really, really good at basketball. Don’t forget that part.
Oh, this is a basketball article? I thought we were discussing the many ways in which Wisconsin gave this guy a hard on.