Following a week that was packed with conference tournaments and Sunday’s selection show, March Madness is officially here. The 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament officially starts with play-in games on Tuesday and Wednesday, before getting into full swing on Thursday. The state of Wisconsin has some rooting interest in the field of 64 this year, as nine-seed Marquette will face North Carolina on Thursday afternoon and the third-seeded Badgers will take on Colgate on Friday night.
Beyond Marquette’s involvement, the local appeal of the tourney increases here in Milwaukee on Friday with a quartet of games at Fiserv Forum. Purdue (3) will take on Yale (14) at 1 p.m., followed by a matchup between Texas (6) and Virginia Tech (11) at 3:30 p.m. Later on, LSU (6) will look to stave off an upset by Iowa State (11) before the night ends with the Wisconsin Badgers (3) facing Colgate (14) at 8:50 p.m. The winners will square off on the same court on Sunday, March 20.
Even if only one of these schools has true local appeal, there’s no time in sports that’s wrought with more drama, craziness, and fun than the NCAA tourney’s first two rounds. If you’re looking to cheer on Wisconsin, witness some possible upsets in person, or if you just want to have something—anything—to say when you inevitably encounter someone decked out in Colgate apparel this week, we have you covered.
Located: Hamilton, New York.
Enrollment: Approximately 3,000 students.
Famous Alum: Andy Rooney, ABC News foreign correspondent bob Woodruff, and Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen.
Team name: Raiders.
Conference: Patriot League.
Even though Colgate lost 11 games this season en route to landing a 14 seed in the tourney, the Raiders have won 15 straight games, including a few contests last week to earn the Patriot League Championship. This marks the school’s fifth trip to The Big Dance and, if they happen to pull off a huge upset against a heavily-favored Badgers squad playing what essentially qualifies as a home game, it will be the first NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament win in Colgate history.
Iowa State University
Located: Ames, Iowa
Enrollment: About 33,000 students.
Famous Alum: George Washington Carver, Jeff Hornacek, Allen Lazard.
Team Name: Cyclones
Conference: Big 12
The 11-seeded Cyclones look to return to their first Final Four since 1944 in an opening round matchup against LSU. As losers of three straight, Iowa State is looking to turn things around when it really matters.
Louisiana State University
Located: Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Enrollment: About 35,000 students.
Famous Alum: Shaquille O’Neal, Joe Burrow, James Carville, all four original members of Better Than Ezra.
Team name: Tigers.
Conference: Southeastern Conference.
Louisiana State’s 22-11 record isn’t too shabby when taking their tough conference into consideration. However, a whopping 15 Tigers wins this season came at home. Milwaukee in the waning days of winter is a long way from Baton Rouge. If LSU’s road woes continue, Iowa State (who is sure to bring a respectable contingent of Cyclones fans with them to Wisconsin) could easily pull off a minor first round upset.
Located: West Lafayette, Indiana.
Enrollment: Just shy of 50,000 students.
Famous Alum: Neil Armstrong, John Wooden, Drew Brees.
Team Name: Boilermakers
Conference: Big Ten
Around the turn of the century, Purdue was a tournament mainstay and a squad always capable of making a run in March. The Big Ten’s tides have changed a bit, but the Boilermakers have stayed quietly consistent through it all—qualifying for 15 March Madness appearances since 2000, including six Sweet Sixteens and a pair of Elite Eights. The Boilermakers are a clear favorite over Yale in the first round and, if all goes as expected, they’ll stay in Milwaukee to face the winner of Texas and Virginia Tech on Sunday.
University Of Texas
Located: Austin, Texas.
Enrollment: More than 50,000 students.
Famous Alum: Wes Anderson, Kevin Durant, Matthew McConaughey, Owen Wilson.
Team name: Longhorns.
Conference: Big 12.
With a 21-11 record and the fourth best record in the sturdy Big 12 Conference, the Longhorns look to keep their more-than-respectable season going by besting Virginia Tech on Friday. Like LSU, Texas has struggled on the road this year (with seven of the team’s 11 losses coming away from Austin), so we’ll see if Matthew McConaughey’s alma mater will be alright, alright, alright here in Milwaukee for rounds one and two.
Located: Blacksburg, Virginia.
Enrollment: More than 36,000 students.
Famous Alum: Dell Curry, Bruce Arians, Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier.
Team name: Hokies.
Conference: Atlantic Coast.
Despite landing in the middle of the pack in the ACC, the Hokies managed to punch their ticket to March Madness the hard way: by winning its conference tournament to earn an invitation. Fresh off a win against Duke, Virginia Tech will see if its sudden and altogether unexpected hot streak can continue at Fiserv Forum when they take on the Longhorns this Friday.
University Of Wisconsin
Located: Madison, Wisconsin.
Enrollment: More than 45,000 students.
Famous Alum: Frank Lloyd Wright, John Muir, Bud Selig, J.J. Watt, Milwaukee Record director of advertising Josh Hoppert.
Team name: Badgers.
Conference: Big Ten.
The 2021-22 Wisconsin Badgers have shocked the world (or the Midwest, at least) by turning in an unexpectedly tremendous regular season. The Big Ten champs will aim to keep soaring during the tournament with an opening round meeting with 14-seeded Colgate that’s taking place less than 100 miles from Madison.
Located: New Haven, Connecticut.
Enrollment: Approximately 12,000.
Famous Alum: Jodie Foster, Paul Newman, Meryl Streep, Frances McDormand, a bunch of U.S. Presidents.
Team name: Bulldogs.
Conference: Ivy League.
Much like Virginia tech, Yale University would not be dancing had it not won its conference tournament over the weekend. The Bulldogs earned a spot in the bracket after besting top-seeded Princeton in the Ivy League tourney. Now Yale faces a far greater challenge when they take the court this Friday to take on Purdue.