first_imgFor the six Wisconsin men’s basketball seniors and their fellow classmates standing in the student section, last night’s home finale was one especially hard goodbye.It’s hard to say goodbye to a building that’s housed so much success and so many memories.From the time I stepped on campus in 2007, going into each and every game – regardless of the opponent – UW fans always knew the Badgers had a chance to win in Madison.In those four years, the Badgers have just five losses on their home floor. Five. And with last night’s win over Northwestern, UW has now had a perfect season at home three times under head coach Bo Ryan.All that winning can be hard to keep track of, so in the spirit of senior day, and for the soon-to-be graduates who just turned in their final student voucher, let’s look back at the six best games Badger fans have witnessed at the Kohl Center over the past four years.6: No. 15 Michigan State 42, No. 9 Wisconsin 57 (Feb. 28, 2008)There’s always extra buzz around the Kohl Center when the Spartans come to Madison. It was no different in 2008. The testy relationship between Ryan and MSU head coach Tom Izzo was at its peak, and the crowd was all over the Spartans from the start.And senior guard Michael Flowers was all over Drew Neitzel.Sparty’s sharp-shooter, who had seemingly been suiting up for MSU for over a decade, was hounded by Flowers all night, and UW fed off their senior guard’s relentless energy.Netizel finished 1-10 from three-point range. That lone conversion produced his only points. With every miss, the Grateful Red’s chants grew louder and the Badgers pulled away.The Badgers suffocated their hardwood-rival and held the No.13 Spartans to just 42 total points.5: Penn State 41, No. 8 Wisconsin 77 (March 5, 2008)It wasn’t the most thrilling rushing of the court, but after beating the Nittany Lions, UW celebrated a well-deserved Big Ten championship with their fans.The Badgers dominated from the start and there was never any doubt, but the crowd got a rare chance to commemorate a conference championship on the home floor.That Wisconsin team ended the season with just two losses in Big Ten play, and the Badgers followed up that senior day victory over Northwestern in Evanston, Ill. to clinch the conference crown outright. Weeks later, UW celebrated a Big Ten Tournament title.4: No. 11 Indiana 49, No. 13 Wisconsin 62 (January 31, 2008)These were the days when Indiana still garnered respect, the days when those classic stripped overalls still looked cool coming out of the opposing tunnel.These were also the days of Eric Gordon and D.J White.Gordon, the uber-talented one-and-done freshman guard, and White, the powerful, efficient senior forward, made for quite the tandem at Indiana, and the matchup with the Badgers created another electric environment inside the Kohl Center.UW’s lead rose to 20 at one point, but Gordon and the Hoosiers went on a 17-2 run, narrowing the gap to five in the final eight minutes.But Wisconsin firmed up defensively, stopping the run right there. The Badgers got timely rebounds from Joe Krabbenhoft, and the home crowd enjoyed a statement victory over one of the nation’s top teams.3: No. 10 Purdue 59, No. 18 Wisconsin 66 (February 1, 2011)We finally move past 2008 and fast-forward to a snowed-out evening in 2011 for our next memorable victory.After a road loss to Penn State, a win over the Boilermakers was essential for UW to stay alive in the Big Ten race. Everyone in the arena knew how important this game was, and with Purdue up by one with 1:10 remaining, the Badgers needed someone to come through in the clutch.The flat top himself, Ryan Evans – who had admittedly been struggling offensively all season – became the hero with a nifty jumper to give UW the lead in the final minute.He later capped the night off with a tremendous dunk in the open floor to seal the victory. The rarely-seen play above the rim, coupled with an announced Snow Day, made for a raucous night in Madison.2: No. 5 Duke 69, Wisconsin 73 (December 2, 2009)There are countless reasons why this particular game was so special.First and foremost, it’s Duke – the evil empire of college basketball. Fans were lined up for hours in the bitter cold to get as close to the action as they could. Seeing the legendary Coach K and those black and blue uniforms creates energy in arenas across the country. Then you have the Big Ten/ACC challenge, which the Big Ten had never won. And of course, you have the actual gameplay, which featured energized play on both ends.The Badgers never trailed, despite Duke’s relentless efforts to pull painfully close thanks to three after three from Andre Dawkins, but UW held on and madness ensued. Wisconsin pulled it off, and as a result, the Big Ten won the Challenge.Fans stormed onto the court as the unranked Badgers toppled one of the most historic programs in all the land – a program that went on to win the National Championship at season’s end.1: No.1 Ohio State 67, No. 14 Wisconsin 71 (February 12, 2011)Taking down No. 1 has to be No. 1 on the list.Combine that with the fact that conference-rival Ohio State was undefeated coming to Madison – just like they were a few months prior in football ?- and you have an opportunity few fan bases ever get to witness.Highlights of the Badgers’ dramatic win over the Buckeyes in football were shown in the minutes leading to tip-off, and the Kohl Center was ready to explode. With towels in hand, the fans created an atmosphere that was truly second-to-none. The Badger basketball team didn’t disappoint.Jordan Taylor engineered a mesmerizing second-half comeback as the fans once again stormed onto the floor to celebrate another win over No.1 Ohio State.The 2010-11 Badgers were perfect at home once again, and after playing his last game at the Kohl Center Sunday, Jon Leuer put it best.“We just know with that crowd behind us, with the Badger fans behind us, when we are at the Kohl Center we don’t plan on losing, ever.”At this rate, Badger fans don’t plan on witnessing that any time soon.Max is a senior majoring in journalism. What’s you’re favorite Kohl Center memory? Let him know at [email protected]last_img

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