MADISON, Wis. -- For once, football isn't king in Wisconsin. Basketball rules Badger Country for now.

Several thousand fans dressed overwhelmingly in Wisconsin red welcomed home their beloved Badgers on Sunday to deafening cheers and lauded them like conquering heroes for advancing to the Final Four.

''I just wish we could take this and put it into about 100,000 pieces and give every fan'' a piece, said head coach Bo Ryan, gesturing to the trophy the team received for winning the NCAA tournament's West Regional. The second-seeded Badgers took a 64-63 overtime thriller against top-seeded Arizona on Saturday night in Anaheim, Calif.

MARCH MADNESS
Galleries from each of the games
Lopresti: UConn takes Napier's lead to national title
Kroll: Deficit too much for Kentucky against UConn
Bauernfeind: Kentucky players credit UConn guards
Collins: Toughness leads to another title for Huskies
Kroll: Calipari has run up against Connecticut before
Lopresti: UConn's run to title game reflection of its coach
Lopresti: Championship game numbers and words
Kroll: Kentucky lives by the freshmen -- again
Lopresti: UConn drawing comparisions to 2011 champs
Lopresti: Notes: UConn, UK is a match with many angles
Bauernfeind: Kentucky's inside game the difference
Collins: Ollie's leadership keeps UConn run alive
Lopresti: Napier's and Wilbekin's stories meet in Final Four
Lopresti: Notes: Times have changed since 1986
Kroll: Kaminsky grows into bigger role for Wisconsin
Kroll: AT&T Stadium is an un-really big deal
Lopresti: Even for Kentucky, it's no easy street
Lopresti: Notes: UConn's Ollie eyes title in first Final Four
Lopresti: Kentucky's Randle has private cheering section
Lopresti: Top tourney day in history of Final Four teams
Lopresti: Meet the battle-tested final foursome
2014 DI Men's Basketball Tournament Stats
Brackets: Interactive Printable
Selections: East  Midwest  South  West
• Analyze Final Four: UPS Team Performance Index
• Vote Now: Degree Clash of the Underdogs
• Vote Now: 2014 Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T
Inside Look: NCAA Courtside presented by AT&T
Next stop: a date in the national semifinals next weekend at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

''Do I get to go to Dallas with you? Can the coaches go?'' Ryan asked his team jokingly in front of the crowd. With people in the stands snapping pictures on their smartphones, the players gave their approval -- not that Ryan needed it.

''I guess we're going. I guess we're all going.''

There were high expectations for Wisconsin when the season began in November, but few people outside of the Badgers' locker room probably thought the team would get this far into the NCAA tournament.

But strong defense and a breakout performance by jump-shooting center Frank Kaminsky has the Badgers thinking this season can get even sweeter.

With a piece of the championship net tied into his new commemorative hat, the 7-foot Kaminsky took out his phone and recorded a video he posted on Instagram of the raucous scene on stage.

Nope, it hasn't sunk in yet.

''It's your whole life playing basketball, you know,'' Kaminsky said. ''Going into the Final Four is what everyone talks about for the college basketball season. It's too hard to describe so I'm not even going to try.''

Teammate Ben Brust joked that Kaminsky's back might be hurting after all the moves he put on Arizona defenders to get some of his 28 points and 11 rebounds.

''Obviously I'm tired, it was a long game [Saturday], long day of traveling,'' Kaminsky said. ''Looking forward to some rest.''

Not for long -- practice resumes Monday afternoon.

Until then the Badgers will relish their regional championship that has turned them into Wisconsin rock stars. Heck, even Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is riding shotgun to the Badgers right now after crashing the jubilant team's locker room parties in Anaheim.

If Wisconsin residents aren't backing the Badgers yet, they're surely at least talking about them. Well, maybe except for the loyal followers of in-state rival Marquette.

''Our slogan is, 'Why not us?' '' Wisconsin guard Josh Gasser said. ''Why can't we finish this thing off? Why can't we win two more games?''

Related:
Wisconsin beats Arizona to reach Final Four