Celebrate? Sorry, We’re Studying

Karen Crouse:

On the eve of their West Regional final Saturday against Arizona, the Wisconsin players were ensconced in a hotel down the street from Disneyland, in a meeting room with two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows.

In the fishbowl that is the N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament, temptation was giving the Badgers a full-court press. Outside, Wisconsin fans basking in the bright sunshine strolled past in shorts, red T-shirts and halter tops. A few held beer cans, including a woman who rapped on a window until the players looked up.

The basketball portion of their day was done, but the Badgers had more business to tend to. They put their heads down and resumed studying, ignoring the foot traffic outside, the chocolate chip cookies left over from the lunch buffet and the officials’ whistles coming from the television, tuned to a regional game featuring their Big Ten rival Michigan, filtering in from the lobby bar on the other side of the double doors.