Ladies and gentlemen, we finally made it: the North Carolina Tar Heels are set to take on the Wisconsin Badgers tonight in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Heels attempted to make a deep run in the ACC Tournament, but were shut down by Florida State. On the other side of the court, Wisconsin squeaked by Penn State to open the Big Ten Tournament before getting sent home early by Iowa in the quarterfinal game. Both of these teams are hoping to redeem themselves by making it to the Final Four, but that might be the only similarity that these two teams share.
The Wisconsin Badgers is an older, more experienced team than the Tar Heels. About 76% of their scoring came from their veteran players, while we saw a large amount of UNC’s production come from underclassmen. The Badgers are led in scoring by senior guard D’Mitrik Trice, who has averaged 13.7 points and four assists per game so far this season. This will be a huge test for UNC’s young guards who have been largely inconsistent all season long.
If the Heels hope to win this game, the number one priority has to be taking care of the basketball. Wisconsin is one of the best teams in the country in their assist-to-turnover ratio, while UNC is one of the worst in that department. The Badgers also play a much slower game than Roy Williams likes to play, so the Heels will have to push the tempo to speed the game up in hopes of forcing some uncharacteristic errors. Finally, UNC has to take advantage of their size advantage in the paint. The difference between these two teams at the boards is pretty glaring, so this is one area that just may be a game-breaker. Take care of the ball, dominate the boards, and find a way to get Kerwin Walton going, and the Heels may be good enough to stay in Indiana a little bit longer.
Here is how you can watch and/or listen to the first round of the NCAA Tournament:
- Time: 7:00 PM ET
- Location: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, IN
- TV: CBS with Ian Eagle, Grant Hill, and Jamie Erdahl on the call
- Radio: Tar Heel Sports Network (list of affiliates) with Jones Angell, Eric Montross, and Adam Lucas. This game will also be featured on Westwood One with John Sadak and Jordan Cornette providing the play-by-play.
- Streaming: You can stream the game online on the March Madness app.
- Line: UNC -1.5
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