NCAA Tournament: Wisconsin Badgers gear up for first round matchup vs. Pittsburgh

ST. LOUIS -- The University of Wisconsin Badgers on Thursday, March 17th were gearing up for their first round game in the NCAA Tournament. The #7 Wisconsin Badgers face the #10 Pittsburgh Panthers at 5:50 p.m. Friday, March 18th.

Playing in the NCAA Tournament is familiar for many of the Badgers players, who were part of back-to-back runs to the Final Four.

The ScottTrade Center in downtown St. Louis is the home of the St. Louis Blues, so once the Badgers took the practice court it was red, white and blues.

Wisconsin knows what it's like this time of year. This is the Badgers' 18th consecutive NCAA Tournament bid.

This is the first NCAA Tournament with new Badgers Head Coach Greg Gard at the helm.

The Badgers are a basketball team that has found its stride as the season went along. But if you think of Wisconsin basketball this year and years gone by, you can't help but mention the word "fun."

"I think this is when it starts to get the most fun. It's always business during the season and trying to earn your spot in this tournament and I think now when you start spending time all day together doing stuff like this it's when you start to have fun together," Zak Showalter, Badgers guard said.

"If you're not together as a team, if you can't have fun and be close with the guys around you on a day to day basis, it's going to make it really difficult on the court because then you tend not to trust each other. Fortunately for us that's not a problem that we have," Jordan Hill, Badgers guard said.

If you're 350 miles or closer you have to drive to your game, according to NCAA rules. Madison is 359 miles away from St. Louis. The Badgers have no intention of flying home until they can win and get to that second game on Sunday afternoon.