If you’re still hoping to make it to Anaheim to see the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team play Baylor on Thursday, two words: good luck. Expect an energized but smaller group of Badger rooters in California than the red mob who helped rock the Bradley Center in Milwaukee for the team’s first two NCAA tournament wins last week. The Badgers were allotted 1,200 tickets for the game in Anaheim, and fewer than 200 remained for the general public as of 1 p.m. Monday, which was the deadline for donors and season ticket holders to reserve. They got first crack, said Justin Doherty, associate athletic director. The tickets cost $200 each, which gives access to both of Thursday’s regional semifinal games and the regional final game Saturday, regardless of whether the Badgers win on Thursday. Traveling to see the Badgers in the NCAA tournament differs greatly from following the football team to a bowl game, said Scott Mast, co-owner of Burkhalter Travel. First, there are far fewer tickets available. By comparison, the university got 24,000 tickets for its last trip to the Rose Bowl for the 2013 game. The basketball playoffs also come with far less advance time, making planning tricky. And they come during March, when flights tend to be more expensive because it’s peak spring break travel season, Mast said. Even the band travels in a slimmed-down state. The NCAA allows only the director and 29 musicians at the game, Doherty said. Mast, who’s had season tickets for Badgers basketball for 32 years, isn’t going to Anaheim and likely won’t go should the Badgers make the Final Four, to be played at AT&T Stadium — formerly called Cowboys Stadium — near Dallas. He’s been to two Final Fours, in New Orleans and Seattle, and wouldn’t recommend the experience. The games tend to be played in massive stadiums meant for football, meaning most of the fans have a better view of the action from the Jumbotron. “It’s a waste of money,” he said.
Small but loud crowd, band expected for Badgers in Anaheim
Wisconsin State Journal | Mar 25