The Wisconsin Badgers, under new permanent head coach Greg Gard, have a daunting task ahead of them to be sure. Under the retired Bo Ryan, Bucky had two consecutive Final Four appearances. They lost three key components from those teams.
But Wisconsin (20-12) came on strong in the second half and drew the 7th Seed in the first and second rounds to be held in St. Louis on Friday night and Sunday afternoon. They will face 10th seeded Pitt (21-11) on Friday night at the Scottrade Center. Opening tip is slated for 5:50 p.m., CDT, and will be carried live on TNT.
Nigel Hayes, Bronson Koenig and Zak Showalter are the grizzled veterans having run the gauntlet the last two years. Lesser known names such as Vitto Brown, Khalil Iverson and Ethan Happ have stepped into some pretty big sneakers and have found success in the rough and tumble Big Ten Conference. Wisconsin last won the basketball title in 1941.
A piggybank that has acted as a mascot of sorts at Major Goolsby's Sports &Entertainment Bar in downtown Milwaukee since 1986, will again be front and center at the establishment.
Goolsby's has been a mainstay in the sports bar biz for 44 years and been recognized in Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Sports/Travel & Leisure and Fox News Channel.
"Barkley Badger" has sported the Red & White of Wisconsin for a couple of decades.
He was brought down from the ceiling to be closer to Badger fans during the NCAAs in 2014 and has been at the front entrance ever since.
Visitors are being encouraged to take selfies with the piggy bank and share their photos on social media.
Goolsby's first acquired the porcine figure in 1986. Then-Milwaukee Bucks coach Don Nelson used the fiberglass piggy bank to raise money for Wisconsin farmers during the drought that summer. The bar purchased it at an auction, donating $2,500 to the cause.
He was affectionately nicknamed “Barkley” by then-waitress Liz Gleason for Charles Barkley, the onetime-Philadelphia Sixer who battled against the Bucks many times in the playoffs. He was a frequent guest at Goolsby's throughout his career.
Barkley was painted Green & Gold to raise money for Reggie White's church which was burned down by an arsonist in January of 1996.
$981 was put in the slot on the top and proprietor Jerry Cohen matched that total bringing the donation to $1,962.