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Tale of the Tape: UNC vs Wisconsin

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Sweet Sixteen

North Carolina Wisconsin
Record 26-11 33-3
Conference ACC B1G
Conference Record 11-7 16-2
Bid At-large Automatic
Seed #4 #1
KenPom Rank 14th #3
Points per game 77.9 72.3
Adj. Off. Efficiency(Rank) 115.6(12th) 124.9(1st)
Ad. Def. Efficiency(Rank) 95.7(50th) 95.2(41st)
Tempo(Rank) 69.8(12th) 59.0(346th)
Offensive eFG% 51.5% 54.7%
Defensive eFG% 45.2% 47.1%
Field Goal % 47.6% 48.0%
3P FG% 35.1% 35.8%
FT% 70.2% 76.1%
Offensive Reb Rate 40.3% 32.1%
Defensive Reb Rate 69.0% 76.1%
TO Rate 18.5% 12.4%
FT Rate 35.3% 35.6%
3PA% 22.2% 37.4%

There is no way around it. Wisconsin's offensive numbers are incredibly impressive. The Badgers have a high efficient offense which presently ranks #1 in the country at just a tick under 125. Wisconsin's offensive is so efficient that despite being 346th in tempo, the Badgers manage to score 72.3 ppg. For comparison, Virginia's tempo is similar to Wisconsin's but the Cavaliers averaged just 65 ppg this season. An efficient offense in a low possession game makes for a very tough challenge defensively.

Also of concern for UNC is two numbers that strike at the heart of what UNC needs to do. One is Wisconsin's defensive rebounding which is fourth nationally at over 76%. That kind of rebounding on the defensive end will make it difficult for the the fifth best offensive rebounding team in the country to take advantage. It is a classic strength on strength situation.

Wisconsin also does not turn the ball over. The Badgers have an average TO% of 12.4 which is first and 1.7% better than the next best team. Since Wisconsin likes the slower tempo, turnovers could be a means for UNC to speed the game up. The issue there is Wisconsin simply isn't prone to mistakes. On the season, Wisconsin has two games with a TO% worse than 16, 20.5 vs Marquette and 23.5 against Georgetown. Both of those occurred in later November/early December.

This statistical picture isn't great for UNC. Winning this game will demand UNC make a dent in some of these numbers while putting together one of the most consistent offensive outings of the season. In terms of  defensive efficiency and eFG%, Wisconsin and UNC are are fairly even terms. Wisconsin doesn't force turnovers with the 317th ranked defensive TO% but the Badgers also don't commit fouls with opponents posting an average free throw rate of 20.1. In that respect the Tar Heels should be able to avoid costly turnovers but getting to the free throw line could prove difficult.

Because Wisconsin is so consistent on the offensive end, the concern is UNC has another game where the Tar Heels hang tough but a late scoring drought coupled with the inability to get stops will do them in. If there was ever a night for UNC best offensive performance of the season, this would be it.