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UNC 60 Wisconsin 57

Take it and move on.

UNC got an inconsistent offensive effort but enough when it counted to go with a solid outing on the defensive end to come away with a 60-57 win over Wisconsin. It wasn't always pretty. In fact I don't know how Badger fans watch this crap night in and night out. It is boring and horrid basketball to watch. However UNC played Wisconsin at its own game and won. Yes, it would be nice to see the offense impose its will a little more and not allow the game to be dictated by the Badgers. I just don't think the Tar Heels are quite there at this point and clearly still need to work out some offensive issues over the next few months. Still, they squeezed enough points out to get the win and that is all that matters.

One of the main reasons for that is Harrison Barnes stepped up his game in the second half and hit several big shots to help UNC wrestle control of the game away from the Badgers. With UNC trailing 36-31, Barnes hit a three and then a two point jumper to make it a 38-36 game. After UNC retook the lead Barnes made several plays to help extend the lead and put the Heels in a position to win the game. Barnes finished with 20 points, 14 of them in the second half. Tyler Zeller also came up big in this game scoring 12 and hitting all six of his free throws. In fact the FT shooting was much improved in this game over the previous six this season with the Heels hitting 19-24 on the night.

Dexter Strickland hit some key buckets early but was limited with some first half foul trouble. Strickland's ultimate value in this game came in the second half when he guarded Badger PG Jordan Taylor during  a key stretch. Strickland's defense gave Taylor fits and effectively disrupted the Badger offense. When Wisconsin did get shots off they did not make many and John Henson was there to cleanup the rebounds. Henson had 17 rebounds on the night as part of UNC overall control of the boards. When playing a team that forces you to play defense for the entire shot clock the worst possible outcome is to give up the offensive rebound. UNC limited Wisconsin to an OR% of 23 which cut back on the Badgers' second chance opportunities.

Overall UNC still has work to do, especially when it comes to playing smart offensive basketball and make good decisions in execution. UNC had eight turnovers in the first half which ended up being a whopping 27% turnover rate due to the limited number of possessions. And it was not anything Wisconsin was doing on defense as much as it was bad passes or poor execution. I also noticed Zeller did a much better job taking a shot once he got the ball in position instead of allowing the defense to collapse. Improvements like that across the board will get this team where it needs to be offensively.

In the end, this is a very good win and let us all now be thankful we don't have to watch this horrendous style of basketball again unless it is the only thing on TV. Even then I am sure I can find some paint to watch dry somewhere.