You are told to appreciate life’s great moments because you never know how long they will last. Faster than an unnecessarily rushed 3-pointer while trailing late in the game or the Izzone flowing onto the floor like tears from Izzo’s own eyes, the luster of the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team owning the No. 1 spot in the national rankings faded away. The Badgers just didn’t execute down the stretch when they needed to most, something that has become characteristic (even after only three episodes) of this team when losing. But enough of the sour grapes. The Wisconsin Badgers are the No. 1 team in the country. Now there’s a sentence I never really believed I would type. Despite the loss, Wisconsin can lay claim to the top spot in the Associated Press poll until sometime next Monday afternoon. Although some of the excitement of Sunday’s first-ever game between two No. 1 teams may be gone, the game will still be played as such — Wisconsin will have a No. 1 next to its name (CBS uses the AP rankings). And when you stop to think about it, being No. 1 is really something special. Growing up in the Milwaukee area, I remember Badgers sports always being a big topic of conversation. I spent every Saturday in the fall playing youth-league soccer games before coming back home to watch Brent Moss, Terrell Fletcher, Lee Deramis, Ron Dayne and company play. In fact, I still own my 1999 Ron Dayne jersey and wear it to every game. My first real sports memory is of Wisconsin winning the ’94 Rose Bowl. I didn’t really know a whole lot back then, but I figured it had to be pretty good. Not No. 1, though. During basketball season, I would make the trip up to Madison a couple times every year, to go to the Plaza for dinner and bubble hockey, and then the Field House (later the Kohl Center) for basketball games with my uncle. In 2000, UW hoops made an improbable run — actually, it was more like a walk — to the Final Four under Dick Bennett. While that team was leagues better than many that came before it, and fans were genuinely excited about the team, there was really no sense that the team was anything more than an annual good-story tournament team. The point is, between football and basketball, Wisconsin never really stood out as being the best at either. The sports have always been just good enough for fans to get excited but not dominant enough to rise to the top nationally. As a lifelong Wisconsin fan, I was comfortable with it. The times are changing, though. Bret Bielema has openly discussed his desire to take the football program to the “next level” — something Barry Alvarez never did — and seems intent on following through. And Bo Ryan has put the basketball team in a position of national prominence for years to come. We are entering what should be a revival for UW athletics, and fans attitudes need to change right along with the expectations. So there I sat Monday afternoon, refreshing my browser every couple minutes and still staring at last week’s rankings. For the first time in my life the Badgers legitimately had a chance to be the No. 1 team in the country. Did I expect it to happen? No. I fully expected for Ohio State to grab the top spot, followed by a week of “We’ll show them; we get no respect” talk from Badgers fans. I even jokingly told my roommate Wisconsin was the No. 1 team in the country. Apparently I wasn’t too convincing, because he didn’t buy it. Then it happened. This time the browser refreshed and the following was printed at the top of the page: 1. Wisconsin (35) 26-2 1,747. This time, I convinced him. My roommates and I spontaneously broke out into “Hail! To the Victors” — a bad habit we acquired on a road trip to the Big House not because we like Michigan (we don’t), but because it’s catchier than the “Macarena” — before eventually settling back into the more true-to-our-roots “On Wisconsin.” We were excited, to say the least. But what happens now after Tuesday’s loss? I think that is a question that few really know how to answer. Still, after never holding a No. 1 ranking in the basketball program’s history, Wisconsin finally does. Make sure you appreciate this week: Cherish every graphic showing Wisconsin at No. 1, read every story and celebrate it like a true No. 1 team. Ben is a sophomore majoring in political science. You won’t find him crying like Izzo and he’s still excited for the Ohio State-Wisconsin game. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.