Badgers Fans Swamp Milwaukee For First Round Of NCAA Basketball Tournament

Wisconsin Beats American University 75-35 At Bradley Center


Wisconsin Badgers fans wearing red, and carrying green – as in money – streamed into Milwaukee by the thousands on Thursday to see the Wisconsin men’s basketball team easily beat American University 75-35 in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Around 11 a.m. on Thursday, ticket sellers were at nearly every street corner outside the Bradley Center, courting buyers with offers that appeared to range from about $80 to $100 per ticket. Each ticket was good for an afternoon session that included the Badgers game and the one following it. Parking lots charged up to $30 per spot.

A New Berlin man who gave his name as Dean says he paid $84 to cheer on the Badgers. Dean, who has tried to predict winners of all the contests, has been to NCAA tournament games before in Milwaukee and says the “Big Dance” is worth the cost.

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“I think since everyone’s been a kid, you play basketball and you follow basketball,” said Dean. “It’s a lot better than NBA basketball. People like playing those brackets and figuring out who’s going to advance. It’s a good time.”

Some fans were able to lower their bill by parking several blocks away from the basketball venue, plugging a parking meter and walking the rest of the way. A Milwaukee man named Josh and his friend avoided paying for the game itself: “We got tickets from our boss, so we didn’t have to pay for it,” said Josh. “I’ll take free.”

That left Josh more money to spend at a bar and restaurant called the Milwaukee Brat House. A bratwurst cook who gave his name as Aaron looked busy but said that was just fine.

“Business is good,” said Aaron. “It’s pretty busy. It’s a lot of fun out here though.”

Inside the Bradley Center, it was mainly fun for the Badgers. They briefly trailed in the first half before gaining a 10-point halftime lead. They rolled in the second half, swamping American 75-35.

The Badgers play again on Saturday in Milwaukee.