December 7, 2006
It's difficult to down-play any in-state rivalry in college athletics. But it becomes even more complicated when both teams are among the top-20 basketball programs in the country.
And while University of Wisconsin players and coaches emphasized this is just another game on the schedule, the fans in the state of Wisconsin have clearly taken notice. For the first time this year, and for just the third time in since the start of the 2005-'06 Marquette season, the 18,600 seat Bradley Center will be sold out as the No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers (8-1) make the short trip to Milwaukee, Wis., to take on the No. 17 Golden Eagles (9-1) Saturday afternoon. MU sold out three times last season -- versus Big East teams Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Providence.
But for UW head coach Bo Ryan, who has been a component of basketball within the state for over 30 years, the hype the non-conference game has generated for the fans is understandable, but ultimately, remains preparation for the Big Ten season set to open Jan. 6 against Minnesota.
"I don't deal with ticket requests, so I wouldn't know a road game from a home game," said Ryan in response to outside ticket requests due to the magnitude of the contest. "I don't deal with those things
I do that on purpose.
"And the last time I checked, we sold out every game this season on our floor, so there really isn't a difference for us."
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