Ethan Happ was a part of a lot of wins at Wisconsin. He redshirted as the Badgers made their run to the 2015 national title game and then went on to start four years, leading UW to three NCAA tournaments. Memorable victories in that stretch included a buzzer-beating win over Xavier in the 2016 tournament, taking down top-seeded Villanova in the following spring and home victories over Michigan and Purdue that resulted in fans storming the court. But that is not the game that is the most memorable to three-time first-team All-Big Ten performer. No, it’s the crushing loss at the hands of Florida in the 2017 Sweet 16.
Here’s what Happ told ESPN about that game:
“I got it on my board at my home, the final box score of the Florida game in the 2017 Sweet 16. Chris Chiozza hit that one-footed runner at the buzzer. That game will always hurt me the most because one of the biggest things was that I got to play with those seniors [Bronson Koenig, Nigel Hayes, Vitto Brown and Zak Showalter]. We beat Villanova, the No. 1 seed, and we were on our way to beating Florida, barring something crazy. South Carolina, which we would have played next, in terms of the bracket, is who you would want to play, and we felt confident we could get to the Final Four that year.
“It stung. I still have that thing on my bulletin board. You can look at it how you want. Everyone has their own opinion. It’s easy for people on Twitter to say things, but if Chiozza doesn’t make this miraculous shot, no one says a word [of criticism]. No part of us thought we were going to walk through Florida. KeVaughn Allen was hot, and he kept hitting shots. C’mon, man — I just stopped having nightmares and you want to ask me about this? We should have won that game. I’m sure Florida would say the same thing. But in a seven-game series, we’re winning that series.”
ESPN caught up with a number of guys getting ready to play in the The Basketball Tournament this summer and that included Happ, who will play for Team Hines.