Last year, although finishing 24-2, the Madison boys flew under the radar and captured their third state title in five years. This year the Bulldogs will enter with a bulls-eye on their backs.
If any team can handle coming into a season as the favorite it's the Bulldogs. This year's seniors have the experience of winning a title in the hoops town of Madison. But, don't think for a minute that they aren't hungry for another.
"We definitely want more. It's not the same to say you won a state title your junior year. You want to win one as a senior to say it was yours and you went out with a state championship," Bulldogs Senior Guard Jacob Giles said.
Giles was the quarterback of the Bulldogs magical football team this year that came up just short of winning the schools first title on the gridiron. On the hardwood the Dogs are returning their leading scoring Trae VandeBerg and he can sense a higher level of motivation from his team mates that played football.
"We don't want to say we feel sorry for the football players for losing, but we do. That loss made them hungrier to win a basketball title," Bulldogs Senior Guard Trae VandeBerg said.
"If anything it is motivation. We felt what it is like to lose, we have felt what it like to win, and we like winning a lot better," Giles said.
The Bulldogs will be senior dominated this season and head coach Michael Ricke understands that is one reason why his team comes in as the favorite. This class watched the 2010 team win as freshman, played a major role in last year's title run, and took Madison's football program to heights they had never seen before. Now they are hungrier than ever to win one of their own.
"They are a pretty special group that has had a lot of success in their careers at all levels and in all sports. They want to go out on top in their basketball careers. I think once get a taste of a state championship you're never complacent. You always want to go get it and get one that you can call your own." Madison Head Coach Michael Ricke said.
The Bulldogs will begin their road back to state at home on December 14th when they host Elk Point-Jefferson.