Visit Milwaukee Blog
| Monday, February 13, 2012
By Bill Prange
Web Marketing Specialist
The pep band. The frenzied students. The school colors. The passion on the court. For sports fans, there are few things like the atmosphere and excitement of attending a big-time college basketball game.
Milwaukee’s Marquette University has been host to high profile college basketball games since 1916. The program’s highlights include winning the 1977 NCAA Tournament and more recently making a run to the Final Four, led by current NBA star Dwyane Wade in 2003.
I recently decided that it was time to rediscover the joy of the college hoops atmosphere. So with my fellow blogger, Zack, as my partner in crime, we headed to the Bradley Center (home to the Milwaukee Bucks and the Marquette University Golden Eagles men’s basketball teams) to watch Marquette take on Seton Hall in a Big East Conference clash.
But wait! You can’t do a college basketball game without the appropriate pre-game preparations. We needed to find the right place for some nourishment before joining the Marquette faithful at the arena. It had to be a place close to the Bradley Center that we could count on for great food and drinks.
Luckily for us, Tutto, an upscale, yet casual Italian lounge on Old World Third Street, fit the bill. With TVs in every booth and classic sports icon artwork on the walls, Tutto combines sports bar with classic Italian cuisine. Located just a block from the Bradley Center, it was the perfect spot to start our game-day festivities.
We ordered a few beverages and set our sights on the menu. Despite my proposal that we try one of everything, Zack was more restrained and suggested a few dishes. We decided on the Mozzarella Marinara, the Trio of Bambino Burgers and the Gio's Home veal sandwich.
We ate and ate and ate some more. The mozzarella was warm and stretchy. The sliders were juicy and flavorful. The veal sandwich was tender and boosted by peppers and marinara sauce. And the fries! You can tell a lot about a place by how they approach their fries. These were crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and seasoned with parmesan and parsley seasoning. It was nearly impossible not to eat just one more after every bite.
It was the perfect base before a night of clapping, cheering and jumping around like a 19-year-old.
We finished up at Tutto and joined the masses heading to the Bradley Center. We found our seats and the action got underway. We noticed some big names in attendance – NBA stars LeBron James and Marquette’s own Dwyane Wade were sitting courtside! Apparently we weren’t the only ones who were hoping for a good show.
Marquette struggled out of the gate, missing some shots and falling behind Seton Hall early. They went into halftime losing 30-26.
Marquette came out in the second half ready to make their move. The turning point in the game was a monster alley-oop dunk by Vander Blue. The play was part of a 16-2 Marquette run which put the Golden Eagles ahead for good. Some clutch free throw shooting and tough defense sealed the game. The final score: Marquette 66 – Seton Hall 59. A win for the good guys!
The thing that I really love about college basketball, which was so evident while watching the game, is the passion on display, both on the court and in the stands. The players aren’t (yet) professionals – their source of motivation is to play hard for their school, their fans and themselves. And the supporters are equally passionate. Thousands of hyped-up students with their crazy signs and giant face cutouts, wearing the school colors, bouncing up and down, screaming from start to finish, makes for quite an electric atmosphere.
From Tennessee fans singing “Rocky Top” to Kansas fans chanting “Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk!” and Marquette dedicating a game every year to legendary head coach Al McGuire, the traditions of college sports make the experience that much more memorable.
Next time you have the chance, head to the Bradley Center and experience the excitement of Marquette basketball yourself. I’m sure you’ll walk away with memories of your own.
Marquette University Golden Eagles men's basketball
The Bradley Center
1001 North Fourth Street