ANAHEIM, Calif. – A surprise visitor joined the Wisconsin Badgers for some postgame revelry following their convincing win over Baylor in the NCAA tournament.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers took in the Badgers’ Sweet Sixteen game in Anaheim, Calif., as Wisconsin advanced to the Elite Eight. And he paid a visit to the Badgers’ locker room afterward to shake some hands and offer congratulations.
Rodgers support of Wisconsin athletics is nothing new. He’s been spotted at Bucks games and been on the diamond with the Brewers.
However, Badgers coach Bo Ryan looked awfully surprised to see the leader of the Pack in his team’s locker room.
“I think he was just caught up in the moment,” said Duje Dukan, a Badgers forward. “I think we all didn’t really know what to say to him. Everybody was just kind of too excited with the victory.”
“I was actually running through the tunnel and saw him out of the corner of my eye and went up and gave him a handshake and a hug,” said Josh Gasser, Badgers guard. “It kind of got a little into me. I’m a big fan obviously, so it was a good moment.”
UW alumni gathered at Green Bay Distillery were also impressed to see Rodgers supporting their school.
“I thought it was nice,” said Jim Reck of Brown County’s Wisconsin Alumni Association chapter. “It was good of him. It’s nice that he has the Badger spirit too.”
Not everyone liked the idea of Rodgers in the locker room. Tournament analyst Grant Hill suggested Rodgers should have been a Badger alum to be in the team’s locker room.
Rodgers responded on Twitter.
“Getting my honorary degree from UW faxed out to me ASAP, so I can go in the locker room Saturday night,” wrote Rodgers.
“I think he is showing his Badger spirit in a way and that’s the message that our organization tries to get out, just come and have fun with us and enjoy some of the Wisconsin spirit,” said Reck.
The Badgers play Arizona Saturday in the regional final, advancing to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2005.