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Chasing History: Badger Men Aim for 70-Year Old Records

The Badgers men’s basketball team won its tenth straight Big Ten game this weekend, the longest since 1941. Brooks Conrad x’42 was there when the 1941 team won the title, and he shared this story.

The last time the Badgers won the championship, they played in Kansas City. Brooks Conrad x'42 was there, and he shared this story with Badger Insider Magazine in 2005. Brooks passed away in 2008, still waiting for another chance to see a Badger team win it all.

Picture March 1941, a couple of years before appellations such as Big Dance, Final Four, and the like. Five of us Badger basketball fanatics piled into someone’s sedan and drove nonstop to Kansas City. We were in time to see the consolation gave that determined the number three and number four college basketball teams in the U.S.

Then, first row balcony, we thrilled as Bud Foster’s Badger hoopsters with All-Americans Gene Englund and Johnny Kotz dismembered Washington to win the national collegiate basketball championship.

Photo Courtesy UW-Madison Archives

Immediately after the game, we repaired to the Muhlbach Hotel for a couple of victory beers, then jumped in the car and drove across Missouri and Iowa nonstop to Madison — an eight hundred mile round trip as the Cessna flies, but considerably farther in twisting and turning road miles in pre-Interstate days. We arrived back in Madtown — a dazed group to be sure — but how often does one get to witness the winning of the Big One? And with no ticket acquisition or crowd problems?

—Brooks Conrad x’42
Winter Haven, Florida

On February 21, 2015 the Badger men’s basketball team defeated Minnesota to win its tenth consecutive conference game. The Badger's 10-game streak is the longest conference win streak since closing the 1940-41 season with 11 straight Big Ten victories. Even better, the 25-2 start matches the 2006-07 season as the best 27-game start in school history. However no team may ever match he 1913–14 squad under coach Walter “Doc” Meanwell, which won all 15 of its games.

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