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Wisconsin Badgers forward Sam Dekker (15) and guard Josh Gasser (21) walk across the court after the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates after the semifinals of the Final Four in the 2014 NCAA Mens Division I Championship tournament Saturday in Arlington, Texas. (Kevin Jairaj / USA TODAY Sports)

Tom Oates column: Badgers proved they belonged on the big stage

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The last time the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team reached the Final Four, it was an outsider, an interloper, a mystery guest.

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A lock-down defensive team, the Badgers of 2000 just didn’t have the firepower to compete with the elite teams in college basketball at that time.

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