UPDATE: Badgers thank exuberant fans at Final Four welcome home - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Badgers thank exuberant fans at Final Four welcome home ceremony

Posted: Updated: Mar 30, 2014 08:57 PM
MADISON (WKOW) -- Fans filled the lower section of the Kohl Center to welcome the Badger men's basketball team back to Madison.

The Badgers advanced to the NCAA Final Four on Saturday night with an overtime win against Arizona.

"Thank you very much for all you've done," coach Bo Ryan told fans in attendance. "This is for you."

Guard Ben Brust lifted the regional championship trophy above his head to deafening cheers from the crowd.

"That thing's heavy," Brust said after the celebrations concluded. "It's giving me an arm workout."

But the senior added he's happy to carry the extra weight.

"I've never won a championship of any sort," Brust said. "So for me to hold a trophy like that and cut down a net is very special."

The Badgers last played in the Final Four in 2000. The team's last Elite Eight appearance, before this weekend, came in 2005.

They'll meet the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday in Dallas, Texas.

"I've heard things are bigger in Texas," said center Frank Kaminsky. "Hopefully we'll get a bigger trophy."

"It's cool to know we have so much support here from our fans," Kaminsky said of the crowd. "The pictures of State Street (Saturday) night and the videos I saw were just unbelievable."

The athletic department said the official attendance Sunday was 7,138.

Senior guard Josh Gasser said he hopes many Badger fans will follow the team to the Lone Star State.

"We couldn't have done this without you," Gasser said. "But we're going to need you for two more games if we're going to continue winning." 
 
Senior Joey D'Amato was among the member of the UW band who performed Sunday.

D'Amato, who plays the cymbals, will be in Dallas next weekend to play at the Final Four.

"I grew up coming to Badger basketball, football, hockey games, everything," said D'Amato, who is originally from McFarland.

"So it's pretty spectacular having the opportunity to support the team. It's just a really special moment," D'Amato said. "I can't wait."


********

MADISON (WKOW) -- Fans can welcome home the Badgers Sunday afternoon as they return from a big NCAA Tournament win in California.

UW Athletics says the Wisconsin Men's Basketball Team will return home to Madison around 4 p.m. The public is invited to the Kohl Center to welcome the team home after a win against Arizona Saturday night to secure them a spot in the Final Four.

Gates at the Kohl Center open Sunday at 3 p.m. The event will begin when the team arrives, followed by a short program. Fans should enter at Gates A or B.
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