Badgers: A look back on the 1941 National Champs

Posted: Friday, April 4, 2014 --- 9:30pm

It's one of the all-time greatest Badger success stories: the story of the 1940-41 UW Men's Basketball Team.

The team broke record after record and made history by clinching the school's only NCAA National Championship in men's basketball. The game took place back on March 29, 1941. Wisconsin battled Washington State, beating them 39-34.

Leading the way to the title was the great Coach Harold “Bud”Foster. Foster's 266 wins remained the most in Wisconsin history, until Coach Bo Ryan passed him in 2012

The goal of the game remains the same, but Badger basketball has undergone some changes over the years.

Back in 1941, the team played at the Field House on campus, which holds around 10,600 fans. Today, the squad plays over at the Kohl Center, where the capacity is 17,230.

Ticket prices have also obviously skyrocketed over the past 70 years. Back in 1941, a single-game ticket would cost you about $.63. Season tickets would cost you about $6.25. Today, the average single-game ticket is $25. Season tickets will run you about $444.

The look of the uniforms and players has certainly changed, something Opie Otterstad knows all too well. The National Association of Basketball Coaches asked Otterstad to paint every men's college basketball championship team, including the 1941 Badgers squad. So, he got right to work. But, before he hit the canvas, he first spent months doing research on the team.

"One of my favorite features of the 1941 team is they all had stripped socks and knee pads on” Otterstad tells NBC 15 via Skype.

The 1941 team may be a bit different than our 2014 squad, but one thing remains the same: the pride for the UW Badgers.


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