As the No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers compete in their fourth Sweet Sixteen in the past five years, they are about to take on their toughest contest yet against the No. 4 North Carolina Tar heels. UNC won yet again in the round of 32, while Wisconsin took the lead late in the game to defeat Oregon for the second year in a row.
This is an extremely interesting match because the teams have two opposite styles. Wisconsin keeps it at a slow pace, while UNC likes to push the pace. If the Tar Heels are able to speed up the Badgers, forcing their front three to foul (which will be hard to do) they can take the game. This game will be a battle of who can control the boards. UNC has not been stellar at outside shooting, but they rank first in total rebounds. So, if the Badger’s miss shots, the Tar Heels can take the game.
Wisconsin is full of front line power; the Badgers just have too many weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Frank Kaminsky, arguably one of the nation’s best players right now, will continue to shine. Averaging 21.5 points per game and 9.5 rebounds, why would he slow down now? Sam Dekker has been outstanding from the 3 spot and the third of the front line, Nigel Hayes, is sure to put on a show as well. The Badger’s are sure to come in with a lot of ball movement and spacing to create driving lanes from the perimeter to pull out this win again.
With Kennedy Meek doubtful to play for Tar Heels this Saturday, the question of who will guard Wisconsin’s Kaminsky is up for debate. Meeks is vital to the Tar Heel defense. If Meeks is out, Brice Johnson may be the match up for Kaminsky, because he is faster and can rush Kaminsky out of the paint. It will be interesting to see how that match up plays out. Brice Johnson is also the Tar Heels second best scorer, but he failed to show that last game. When the Tar Heels are turning the ball over, they can win. Carolina’s Marcus Paige really needs to have another stellar game against the Badgers. Against Arkansas, Paige had 22 against Arkansas. If he can have another 20-point outing, UNC has a stronger chance.
This game comes down to the battle at rim and keeping tempo. Will Roy William’s Tar Heels be able to pull out? Or will the Wisconsin Badgers prevail? Watch Thursday at 7:47 PM on TBS.
Time; 7:47 PM
Date: Thursday March 26
Location: Los Angeles, California
*Section Photo credit to Joe Robbins, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to David Banks, USA Today Sports