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Real meaning of the 'changing of the guard'

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IMG_4785_blog.jpgWednesday morning began with breakfast at the hotel restaurant, a diverse buffet with hot and cold breakfast staples as well as more interesting early morning fare like cured meats and brown beans.

Then it was off on a walking tour of downtown Ottawa. The team marched a few blocks to Parliament Hill to watch the 10 a.m. Changing of the Guard ceremony. It's a pretty neat mix of pageantry, marching band and bagpipe music and military drills performed by the Ceremonial Guard.

After the ceremony, head coach Bo Ryan gathered the team for what seemed like an important message.

"Guys, I don't see what the big deal is about changing of the guards. Bronson (Koenig) and George (Marshall), go in and take out Ben (Brust) and Josh (Gasser). That's the changing of the guards," Ryan joked.

Pretty hard for this group to blend in - 20-some people walking around in matching white Wisconsin Basketball shirts, with many of the group towering over the standard tourists. Let's just say the players get approached a lot for photos and questions.

Then we met our tour guide, Alex, and got the historical background on Ottawa and some its major landmarks, visiting Parliament Hill, the Ottawa River, a view of Quebec, Rideau Canal, Sparks Street, Chateau Laurier, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and ByWard Market.
 
Photo Gallery of the Badgers in Ottawa

Temperatures were around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), so it was a bit toasty for this area. In fact there is a heat advisory in effect here - feels pretty good if you ask this group.

Then it was back to the hotel for a little rest before tonight's game. Hard to believe we're in pregame routine mode in August, but we are. Pregame meal at 3 p.m., bus leaves at 5:30 p.m., game time at 7 p.m.

Wisconsin vs. Carleton
Raven's Nest Gym in the Alumni Hall
7 p.m. - RogersTV

Travel day - Ottawa arrival

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Greetings from Ottawa, Ontario!
Salutations du Canada!

Tuesday was a travel day for the Badgers as they began their eight-day, five-game exhibition tour of Canada. Following a bus ride to Chicago, 16 of the 17 Badgers players (Zach Bohannon is in Madison for orientation to the UW MBA program and will join the team in progress) and staff hopped a midday flight to Ottawa.

The team was met with English and French speaking Customs officials, to which Bo Ryan deadpanned, "I think those four years of French 1 are going to come in handy on this trip."

Upon arrival, the team was given literature on the history of Ottawa and Canada at large. Did you know Dan Aykroyd, Paul Anka, Alanis Morissette and Matthew Perry are Ottawa natives? Neither did we.

The drive in to downtown Ottawa showed off the beautiful riverside and historic buildings and gave the travel party just a glimpse of what tomorrow's walking tour of the city will hold.

After checking into the downtown hotel and grabbing a quick snack, it was off to the trip's only practice at the Raven's Nest at Carleton University. Bo Ryan led the team through an hour and a half workout, further acclimating the team to the international FIBA rules that will be enforced tomorrow night.

Then it was back to the hotel for a late bite to eat and a soft bed. Tomorrow is gameday.

What do the Badgers know about Canada?

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Prior to the Badgers' five-game exhibition tour of Canada, sophomore Sam Dekker quizzed some of his teammates on their knowledge (or lack thereof) of our neighbors to the north.

ON WISCONSIN