Dairyland Madness: Top 2000s performances – Sweet Sixteen

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (L) and Clay Matthews celebrate after the Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in the NFL Super Bowl XLV football game at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (L) and Clay Matthews celebrate after the Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in the NFL Super Bowl XLV football game at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images) /

Dairyland Madness is into the Sweet Sixteen. Each region is down to only four competitors as the tournament for best Wisconsin sports performance continues.

Wisconsin sports have had their ups and downs in the past 20 years. There’s been seemingly countless heartbreak moments, but some great ones too. We’re here to celebrate the best performances of the millennium so far and they’ve been cut from 64 to just 16 by your votes.

Now, instead of separate articles for each region, they will all be combined in one article for a glorious mashup of Wisconsin sports greatness. For the next four days this will be the place to reminisce about ridiculous rushing and passing performances, 50-point games, and exceptionally pitched games by some of the best. There are eight great matchups to vote on so let’s get right into it.

As always, be sure to vote over on Twitter at Dairyland Express or follow the link at the end of the article.

Green Bay Packers Region

#1 Brett Favre 399 yards, 4 TDs 2003 vs. #5 Aaron Rodgers Week 1 comeback 2018

Brett Favre has gotten through the first two rounds pretty easily as the number one seed. He got 88 percent of the vote in round two against Ahman Green and has a great chance to keep rolling. Obviously, the emotion and all of the circumstances surrounding this game are what put it over the top as the number one seed. Playing for his dad and performing like he did was special.

Aaron Rodgers has something to say about this matchup, however. This will for sure be closer than Favre’s other two contests. Rodgers didn’t have an easy road to get here, though. Last round he got just 50.8 percent of votes, edging out Charles Woodson. So can a one-legged Iron Man performance takedown Favre?

#2 Aaron Rodgers 315 yards 6 TDs 2014 vs. #11 Aaron Rodgers Super Bowl MVP

If Rodgers’ comeback can’t beat Favre, he’ll inevitably have another chance at it in the Elite Eight. Wisconsin sports fans have been spoiled with our quarterbacks in the last 25 years and it’s obvious that Packer fans love their quarterbacks as they ended up with four performances of theirs all in the Sweet Sixteen. This one is another matchup of stats against magnitude of the game. Six touchdowns all in the first half against the Chicago Bears is impressive, but can it beat out the Cinderella of this tournament, the Super Bowl MVP game.

The Super Bowl is the biggest game of the year. Rodgers delivered and brought the Lombardi trophy back to Green Bay and that is what makes this game great. He played well, amassing over 300 yards and three touchdowns, but that wasn’t really out of the ordinary for him that season, as he threw for over 300 yards a total of five times. Being in the Super Bowl, the biggest game, possibly in all of sports, is what gives this one its teeth as a contender.

Milwaukee Brewers Region

#1 C.C. Sabathia 1-hitter 2008 vs. #5 Christian Yelich 6-6 cycle 2018

C.C. Sabathia faced some resistance in round two, only sneaking through with 58 percent of votes against Christian Yelich’s second cycle. Now he faces Yelich’s first cycle which is objectively the more impressive one. Still, when you consider that this was very close to being a no-hitter it’s tough to vote against it.

In Yelich’s second cycle which was defeated last round, he had the typical four hits. In this one, he had six hits in an extra-innings win. Last round, he defeated a Yovani Gallardo complete game shutout in 2011. Now he faces a complete game shutout that was even better with only one hit given up. Both of these guys are facing similar opponents to what they came up against in the last round with a little extra behind each one.

#2 Ben Sheets complete game 18 Ks 2001 vs #3 Sexson+Burnitz 3 HRs each 2001

If the seeds stay how they are and Sheets and Sabathia win this round, it will set up a pitching battle of epic proportions. However, there is business still to take care of as Sheets comes up against six total home runs by two men. 18 strikeouts is extremely rare and he will try to ride that rarity to the Elite Eight.

Richie Sexson and Jeromy Burnitz will attempt to continue their run in this tournament, proving that two really is better than one. Their combined performance has gotten them this far, but beating Sheets will be tough. Last round, they managed to get past Brandon Woodruff’s 8 inning, 1 hit outing with 58 percent of your votes, but now they face an even tougher game. So will hitting or pitching win out?

Milwaukee Bucks Region

#1 Giannis Antetokounmpo 52 points 16 rebounds 2019 vs.                                      #5 Giannis Antetokounmpo 44 points for his dad 2017

It’s a Giannis vs. Giannis matchup as the number one and five seeds collide. His top-seeded game is statistically the 19th best game in NBA regular-season history. He scored, rebounded, assisted, and only turned the ball over once. The one negative is that this came in a loss. This was not his fault, though, as D.J. Wilson was the only other Milwaukee Buck with a positive box plus-minus. Giannis was plus 27.9 in that category.

That amazing statistical explosion now comes up against something a little different from Giannis. Obviously 44 points is impressive but similar to the Brett Favre game, he did it following the passing of his dad. He refused to lose and had a late dunk to give the Bucks the lead and then kept that lead with a last-second block on Jusuf Nurkic.

#2 Michael Redd 57 points 2006 vs. #3 Brandon Jennings 55 points 2009

The other Milwaukee Bucks matchup is two great pure scoring performances. Michael Redd led a roaring comeback that tied the game from down 19 but fell just short after a last-second Utah Jazz layup. Redd’s scoring can’t be discounted, though, as his 57 points are a Bucks’ franchise record and simply two more points than Jennings.

What Jennings has going for him is that he led a successful comeback and that he was very young, in only his seventh career game when he did it. Jennings and the Bucks had a slow start. He only scored 10 points in the first half and the Warriors took an eight-point lead into the locker room. Jennings came out in the second half with fire, draining shot after shot. In the second half, he was 17-21 from the field and 6-7 on threes. He scored more points in the third quarter than any other player scored in the entire game.

Wisconsin Badgers Region

#1 Melvin Gordon 408 yards 4 TDs 2014 vs. #4 Jim Sorgi+Lee Evans connection 258 yards 5 TDs 2003

It’s the age-old battle, run versus pass. Melvin Gordon rushed for an otherworldly 408 yards and four touchdowns. Those 408 yards broke the FBS single-game record for yards in a game. That record stood for all of one week until Samaje Perine broke it with 427 yards. Still, breaking a national record is pretty impressive.

Jim Sorgi would have almost definitely been beat by Gordon if he didn’t have Lee Evans by his side. Sorgi threw for 380 yards and 5 touchdowns. That’s impressive on its own, but it didn’t break any records. However, Lee Evans caught 10 of his passes for 258 yards and all five touchdowns. It’s this connection that has a chance to take down Gordon.

#2 Frank Kaminsky 43 points 2013 vs. #11 Frank Kaminsky 20 points against undefeated Kentucky 2015

Speaking of record-breaking performances, Frank Kaminsky still holds the Wisconsin Badgers record for points in a game with his 43-point performance early in the 2013 season. The only downside is that it was against North Dakota who wasn’t exactly a powerhouse that year with a .500 record.

Next. Current State of the Roster. dark

Frank Kaminsky’s great scoring performance will take on…Frank Kaminsky. The difference is why it’s on the bracket and made it this far. This game was the most memorable game in recent history for the Badgers and one of the best in recent Wisconsin sports history. Kaminsky led the team with 20 points in a historic Final Four game, beating Kentucky, a team full of NBA prospects. So will the magnitude of this game defeat pure scoring excellence? It’s up to you to decide. Either way, Frank Kaminsky will represent the best Badgers’ basketball performance against the winner of the other matchup that will represent the best Badger football performance.