The calendar says it’s March and that can only mean one thing for most sports fans: NCAA Tournament time and the inevitable madness that ensues.
While you’re busy filling out your brackets (here’s a printable one in case you haven’t yet), you may have noticed that Wisconsin is the No. 8 seed in the East Regional and set to play No. 9 Virginia Tech.
Why is that notable for CollegeFootballTalk? Well, thanks in part to an assist from the Badgers on the gridiron, the school can extend an NCAA record streak one more season.
Per a university release:
UW’s football team has qualified for a bowl game and its men’s basketball team has earned an invitation to the NCAA tournament for 15 straight years (every year since the start of the 2002 season). That is the longest streak in NCAA history. The next longest belongs to Texas, which qualified for a bowl and the NCAA tournament 12 straight seasons from 1998-99 to 2009-10.
In case you’re wondering, the next two schools with active streaks are Baylor and North Carolina at a paltry (by comparison) four such seasons with both a bowl and tournament appearance.
While the Longhorns’ streak ended a few years ago, Wisconsin did appear to have some competition from a Big Ten rival in Michigan State. The Spartans did have a run of nine straight years where they made the postseason in both sports but the football team’s shocking 3-9 record in 2016 put an end to that.
Maybe even more impressive for the Badgers is how they’ve been able to keep things going on the football side despite having four different head coaches in the same time frame. One name from that very same quartet of coaches should see some face time in Wisconsin’s opening round game as Barry Alvarez is now the athletic director at the school and overseen the streak from the very beginning.
‘On Wisconsin’ indeed it seems, especially when it comes to the postseason of the two biggest college sports.