By Jimmy Carlton Sportswriter Published Mar 18, 2016 at 2:06 PM

On Friday evening, both seventh-seeded Wisconsin and No. 15 Green Bay play their first-round NCAA tournament games, against Pittsburgh and Texas A&M, respectively.

It’s the Badgers’ 22nd trip to the Big Dance and their 17th in a row. They last made it in 2015. For the Phoenix, it’s their fifth appearance, but the first in 20 years. Their previous qualification was in 1996.

Before now, the only other year the two schools were in the tournament at the same time was 1994, when Dick Bennett was coaching at Green Bay (remember that?!) and both teams reached the second round before being eliminated.

So what was life like back then? What was happening? What was new? We scoured the history books and climbed into the wayback machine to recall exactly what the cultural and collegiate-basketball zeitgeist was like in 1994 for both programs and, indeed, the country.


U.S. President: Bill Clinton (Democrat)

Congressional control: Democrats (both houses)

Super Bowl champions: Dallas Cowboys

World Series champions: No World Series because of players' strike

NBA champions: Houston Rockets

Stanley Cup champions: New York Rangers

NCAA football champions: Nebraska Cornhuskers

NCAA basketball champions: Arkansas Razorbacks

Best Picture Oscar winner: "Schindler's List"

Highest grossing movie: "Forrest Gump"

Top TV show: "Seinfeld"

Billboard No. 1 single: "The Sign" by Ace of Base

Wisconsin basketball head coach: Stu Jackson (second year)

Wisconsin basketball season: 18-11 record (8-10 Big Ten conference) and appeared in the NCAA tournament as a No. 9 seed, advancing as far as the second round before losing to No. 1 Missouri

Wisconsin basketball best player: Michael Finley (20.4 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.4 steals per game)

Wisconsin football coach: Barry Alvarez (fifth season)

Wisconsin football season: 7-4-1 record, beating Duke in the Hall of Fame Bowl (which took place on Jan. 2, 1995, but was a part of the 1994 season)

Wisconsin football best player: Running back Terrell Fletcher (244 rushing attempts for 1,476 yards and 12 touchdowns)

Green Bay basketball head coach: Dick Bennett (ninth season)

Green Bay basketball season: 27-7 record (15-3 Mid-Continent conference) and appeared in the NCAA tournament as a No. 12 seed, advancing as far as the second round before losing to No. 4 Syracuse

Green Bay basketball best player: Jeff Nordgaard (15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.0 steals per game)

Current Badgers head coach Greg Gard was: 24 years old and an assistant at Platteville High School

Current Phoenix head coach Linc Darner was: 24 years old and in his senior season at Purdue, where he was a team captain and led the Boilermakers to the Elite Eight

Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.

After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.

Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.