March has become a month when Wisconsin celebrates the muscle of its athletic department. The last 14 years the Badgers have played in a college football bowl game and then qualified for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. It is the longest streak in NCAA history.
The Wisconsin athletic department posted a graphic highlighting the streak to its Facebook page on Monday. The post recorded nearly 20,000 likes and received over 400 comments.
The run started in 2002-2003 and continued this year when Wisconsin football played in the Holiday Bowl followed by the men’s basketball team's 18th straight NCAA tournament berth. The Badgers play Pittsburgh in the Round of 64 on Friday.
Since the start of the 1996 season, Wisconsin's men's basketball and football teams have combined for more bowl and NCAA tournament appearances than any other school. Each team has 19 postseason appearances for a total of 38.
Wisconsin passed Texas for longest streak, last season. Texas qualified for 12 straight bowls/NCAA tournaments from 1998-1999 to 2009-2010. Michigan State holds an active streak of nine consecutive years (2007-2008 to present). Florida also did it nine straight years (1998-1999 to 2006-2007).
Some Wisconsin fans aren't totally satisfied, though, while others are grateful for the rise of Badgers athletics. Here are some of the Facebook comments:
“This is why Wisconsin is, without question, the most consistent athletic program in the country. Simply put, they are just really good every year. ON WISCONSIN! !”
“I grew up in the 70s with the Badgers. Anyone remembering those times has got to be truly amazed by the statistic in the title of this article! On Wisconsin!!!!”
“As much as I love my Badgers, it's not very impressive when they can't consistently make the Sweet 16 or further. It's not impressive that they usually make garbage bowl games. Rose Bowl three years in a row, that was when it was more impressive, until it became three straight losses.”
The last time the Gophers played in a bowl game and NCAA tournament in the same season was 2012-2013. The football team lost to Texas Tech 34-31 in the Car Care Bowl and the men's basketball lost in the round of 32 before head coach Tubby Smith was fired.
The programs have qualified for a bowl and the NCAA tournament in back-to-back seasons (2008-2009 and 2009-2010) only once in school history.
The Badgers have fared much better. And we haven’t even mentioned the Green Bay Packers stretch of success over the past decade.
Wisconsin's successful postseason streak:
Men’s basketball Football
02-03 Sweet Sixteen Won Alamo Bowl
03-04 Round of 32 Lost Music City Bowl
04-05 Elite Eight Lost Outback Bowl
05-06 Round of 64 Won Capital One Bowl
06-07 Round of 32 Lost Outback Bowl
07-08 Sweet Sixteen Lost Champs Sports Bowl
08-09 Round of 32 Won Champs Sports Bowl
09-10 Round of 32 Lost Rose Bowl
10-11 Sweet Sixteen Lost Rose Bowl
11-12 Sweet Sixteen Lost Rose Bowl
12-13 Round of 32 Lost Capital One Bowl
13-14 Final Four Won Outback Bowl
14-15 National Runner-up Won Holiday Bowl