Fans say they can't wait for Badgers to hit the court on Thursday

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- There was a sea of red inside the Milwaukee Theater in downtown Milwaukee on Wednesday evening, March 19th -- as a pep rally was held for the Wisconsin Badgers on the eve of their big NCAA Tournament battle vs. American.

The Badgers have the shortest drive of any of the teams playing in the Milwaukee portion of the NCAA Tournament. In Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Badgers are a home court favorite -- and plenty of fans are expected to show up to the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Thursday to take in the game.

On Wednesday, they took in practice -- and then the pep rally.

"It's to show we love them and we appreciate them," Badgers fan William Timmler said.

The band and the cheerleaders worked to rally fans -- excited the team is playing in Milwaukee.

"They're going to win games because of the huge fan contingent here," Charlie Johnson said.

On the night before game-day, fans were hopeful the Badgers are able to make a tournament run -- and perhaps, even clinch a championship.

"I expect us to go at least to the elite eight or to the finals," Barbara Puls said.

Most Badgers fans just can't wait for the team to hit the court at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Thursday.

"I'll be up early and have my Badger gear on and ready to root for the Badgers," Timmler said.

"All the stars kind of aligned and here they are," Johnson said.

The Badgers face American at 11:40 a.m.