MADISON – Over the last 14 years, Bo Ryan has taken Wisconsin basketball on a magical ride, a journey that has turned a once downtrodden program into a consistent competitor in the Big Ten and a fixture in the N.C.A.A. tournament
With Ryan announcing his retirement Tuesday night after 747 career wins, including a school-record 364 at Wisconsin and 172 in the Big Ten, we look back at some of the memorable moments of his Badgers tenure
April 4, 2015: Wisconsin 71, Kentucky 64
It may very well go down as the single greatest moment in program history. A year after the Badgers' Final Four run came to an end at the hands of the Wildcats, the Badgers denied Kentucky's chance at an undefeated season with a stunning victory in the national semifinal. The Badgers trailed by four with four minutes to play, but used a 15-4 run to put the Wildcats away and advance to the National Championship game for the first time since 1941.
March 29, 2014: Wisconsin 64, Arizona 63 (OT)
Ryan was a great coach; beloved by fans, players and his peers; successful at every level but he had never been to a Final Four at the Division I level. That ended on a Saturday afternoon in Anaheim, Calif. where Frank Kaminsky scored 28 points, including six in overtime to punch Ryan's ticket to college basketball's biggest spectacle. "They can be quiet now," athletic director Barry Alvarez said of Ryan's critics. "We don't have to hear it anymore." The moment was even more special for Ryan as it came on what would have been his father's 90th birthday.
February 27, 2002: Wisconsin 74, Michigan 54
In a span of 34 games, Ryan was able to accomplish what hadn't been done at Wisconsin in 55 years: win a share of the Big Ten Championship. Sure, the Badgers shared the crown with three other teams, but it set the stage for what would become the norm under Ryan, who was born in 1947 - the last time Wisconsin had claimed the league title.
March 6, 2003: No. 24 Wisconsin 60, No. 14 Illinois 59
Devin Harris' free throw with four-tenths of a second left took Ryan and the Badgers another step further, clinching their first outright league championship since 1947. Wisconsin would bow out after just one game in the Big Ten Tournament but advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time under Ryan, falling to Kentucky, 63-57, at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
March 2, 2004: No. 17 Wisconsin 68, Michigan State 64 (OT)
Michigan State needed a victory to clinch a share of the Big Ten title and was so confident it would knock off Wisconsin that the banner was already in the rafters, rolled up and waiting for the final horn. The banner was noticed by Wisconsin's coaches, who pointed it out to the players and the rest is history. Wisconsin snapped the Spartans' five-game winning streak; Illinois won the league crown outright and 12 days later, the Badgers cut down the nets after winning their first ever Big Ten Tournament championship.
March 22, 2014: Wisconsin 85, Oregon 77
The Badgers finished the regular season 25-6 and missed out on a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. But the selection committee did Wisconsin a favor, sending the team to Milwaukee for the first two rounds of the tournament when a sea of red was waiting at the Bradley Center. The home court advantage would be crucial for Wisconsin, which trailed by 12 at halftime but opened the second half on a 17-6 run and pulled away from the Ducks to advance to the Sweet 16 for the sixth time under Ryan.
Dec. 3, 2009: Wisconsin 73, No. 6 Duke 69
In front of a raucous Kohl Center crowd and a national television audience, the Badgers handed the Blue Devils their first-ever loss in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, and the Big Ten's first-ever victory in the series.
Feb. 19, 2007
Fresh off the heels of a 75-49 trouncing of Penn State, the Badgers awoke Monday morning and saw something in the paper that had never happened before: Wisconsin was ranked No. 1 in the nation in the AP poll. The euphoria wouldn't last long (the Badgers fell the next day to Michigan State then later in the week at No. 2 Ohio State), but the fact of the matter is the Badgers got to a level few ever expected them to go.
Jan. 31, 2007: Indiana 71, No. 2 Wisconsin 66; Jan. 14, 2014: Indiana 75, No. 3 Wisconsin 73
Both were losses for the Badgers, but they are excellent illustrations of just how much things changed under Ryan. Wisconsin was 4-36 against over its' last 40 game against the Hoosiers, but Ryan would win his first four meetings with Indiana. Wisconsin came to Bloomington in January of 2007 No. 2 in the country, 21-7 on the season and 7-0 in the Big Ten. Indiana pulled off the upset and the home crowd celebrated by storming the court; Hoosiers fans, storming the court at Assembly Hall after beating the Badgers ... a scene that repeated itself in 2014, when Indiana handed Wisconsin its first loss of the season.