MADISON (WITI) -- The Wisconsin Badgers played in their biggest game in 74 years on Monday night, April 6th when they faced the Duke Blue Devils in the NCAA Tournament's championship game! The last time the Badgers won a national championship? 1941! Fans, players and Coach Bo Ryan alike were hopeful this is the year they would be able to bring a trophy back to Madison. This, as police said they'd be watching, working to keep everyone on State Street safe.
Thousands filled State Street in Madison on Saturday night after the Badgers big 71-64 win over the Kentucky Wildcats. Madison police reported no major issues -- and they said they were hoping for the same Monday night -- win or lose.
There was both anxiety and excitement early Monday evening as Badgers fans gathered on State Street. Lines formed outside State Street bars hours before tip-off.
"We were in class and we were studying for a little bit and we heard that everywhere was packed at 2:00 so we were like, 'we need to leave and we need to get down to State Street right now,'" Emily Blaski said.
Other students were just back from Spring Break.
"It`s been absolutely insane in here since like 3:00. We`re really soaking it in. We don`t take it for granted at all," Kenneth Lyons said.
Places were packed across Madison with one exception -- Memorial Library!
"It`s been pretty dead since about 5. You can tell people are leaving to go see the game," Alissa Novak said.
"We both have exams tomorrow, so try and study before the game starts," Rishi Karri said.
There was no question where Badgers fans were headed after the game.
"State Street is going to be wild! Crazy!" a Badgers fan said.
"People are gonna be everywhere! It`s gonna be the greatest night for anybody who lives in Wisconsin," a Badgers fan said.
"I think it`s just gonna be a great celebration. Everyone`s just gonna be celebrating together no matter what happens. It`s been what -- 74 years since we made it this far!" a Badgers fan said.
Madison police have a lot of experience dealing with State Street crowds. More than 130 officers were in the area Monday night, including the Madison Police Department's "special events" team and some officers from outside agencies.
"We hope that they behave with class and show the entire nation, certainly this is a nation stage for us now, show us what kind of sportsmanship comes out of UW-Madison," Madison Police Lt. Kelly Donahue said.
Ultimately, though it was a hard-fought effort, the Badgers fell to the Duke Blue Devils 68-63.