Thousands crowd into Badger pep rally in Texas - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Thousands crowd into Badger pep rally in Texas

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ARLINGTON, TX (WKOW) -- Thousands of Badgers' basketball fans packed into the Arlington Convention Center for a pep rally Saturday afternoon. 

Most were ready to explode as they awaited Wisconsin's 7:49 p.m. tip-off against Kentucky in the NCAA Final Four..

From cheerleaders and Bucky Badger to the UW marching band, it was a Badger celebration that could be heard throughout a very large, packed room.

"This is awesome," exclaimed UW Senior Steven Campbell.  "As of Tuesday, when we got tickets, we've just been jacked.  Road-tripped down here.  Its been a blast.  Being here with all of these Badgers is just incredible."

"We Badgers come together, we are a family," said fellow UW Senior Brittany Baumler.  "Its always been that way and its so exciting to see and be a part of."

Some of the most pumped up fans are former Badger players, including Michael Finley, who addressed the crowd.

"I'm excited.  I feel like I'm about to go out there and play and help the guys right now, I'm excited," said Finley, who played for Wisconsin from 1991 to 95, before enjoying a successful career in the NBA, most of which was spent with the Dallas Mavericks.

Former Badger point guard and La Follette High graduate Rick Olson said he has never seen so much energy around the Wisconsin basketball program.

"This is tremendous.  This is something we've all been waiting for and enjoy the moment and all of us former alumni guys who are all here, we're so proud of him (Coach Bo Ryan) the team," said Olson, who still lives in Madison.

The only thing that could make the fans happier is a win tonight.

"You want to finish on a high note and I think they can," said Terry McCann of Beloit, a season ticket holder for 17 years.  "I think they have just as good a shot at winning the overall championship, not just against Kentucky, I think they may win it all."

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