The Wisconisn Badgers open their 2021 NCAA tournament run tomorrow night. The Badgers will face North Carolina out of the ACC. The winner of this game gets the winner of #1 Baylor and #16 Hartford. Tip time is scheduled for 6:10 PM CST on CBS. Today, we look at the keys to a Badger victory tomorrow night!
Potter And Reuvers Need To Stay On The Court
The first issue (and potentially the biggest issue) North Carolina possess is their height. The Tar Heels will have four players 6’10 or taller in their rotation. The Tar Heels like to usually play two on the court at all times. They will bring leading sophomore scorer Armando Bacot, senior Garrison Brooks, and freshmen Day’Ron Sharpe and Walker Kessler.
One worrisome stat for the #Badgers: North Carolina ranks No. 1 nationally in offensive rebounding percentage (41.3).
— Jim Polzin (@JimPolzinWSJ) March 14, 2021
The Badgers have been rumored to potentially going back both Nate Reuvers and Micah Potter in the starting lineup. These two were both starters at the beginning of the year. Greg Gard had to counter with only one of them starting as opponents began to counter with smaller lineups. The Badgers are going to have to ask a lot out of Potter and Reuvers. They have to stay out of foul trouble.
To counter what North Carolina brings, Potter and Reuvers do have an advantage on the offensive side. Both players can move around and shoot the three. This could put the Tar Heels big men in a position they are not used to or comfortable with. There’s also a chance we could see Steven Crowl or Joe Hedstrom on the court to finish out before media timeouts to give Potter and Reuvers a breather and not pick up an unnecessary foul.
The Three Ball HAS To Fall
The Badgers have to make three point shots tomorrow night. I know the Badgers are 4-42 all time at Mackey Arena, but they’re not playing Purdue. The Badgers actually played Mackey Arena a few weeks ago against Purdue. The Badgers lost 73-69 and only shot 7-29 from three. They can’t live and die by the three, but the ones they do attempt have to go in.
The Badgers have to make more than 7 threes tomorrow night. North Carolina is not a great 3 point shooting team either. Wisconsin needs to move the Tar Heels around on defense. How do they do this? They need the ball the be moving consistently and they have to move around. Too many times in the regular season we saw the Badgers become stagnant on offense. As a result, this usually led to poor shot selection with the defense hardly having to work for it. If there’s a time for the Badgers seniors to show up from three, they have to do it tomorrow night.
Time For A Fresh Start
I’m sure the Badgers were not happy to receive a 9 seed. They didn’t win games down the stretch and were in a number of those games. This is senior-led team that has been through so much in 4 years. A difficult Big Ten schedule and the 9th hardest schedule in the country certainly did help.
December 19th was the last time the Badgers played a team not in the Big Ten. They destroyed Louisville, who was the first team out in the tournament. I’m sure the Badgers and Wisconsin fans are relieved to see a team not from the Big Ten. This team was in a battle every night for four months. They finally get to see a different team. Maybe this will be a good thing.
Wisconsin has every chance and every opportunity to beat North Carolina. The rebounding does concern me. However, the Badgers played in a much tougher conference and played better team than the Tar Heels. I’ve been pretty tough on the Badgers this year. I really thought this team would easily contend for the Big Ten title. I did underestimate the Big Ten and teams such as Ohio State, Purdue and Michigan. Every team the Badgers were behind in the Big Ten this year is better than North Carolina. They can certainly beat the Tar Heels.
However, I think the rebounding will be too much. The Tar Heels players are big and strong. Micah Potter hasn’t had an issue with this, but Nate Reuvers has and took a beating in the Big Ten. Greg Gard did have to pull him off the court at times because it was too much of a mismatch.
The three point shooting has been spotty all season. The Badgers haven’t lost confidence in their shot, but it’s been too inconsistent. I just don’t know which team will show up tomorrow night.
– Dylan Buboltz
North Carolina 70 Wisconsin 65
After 710 days, since the last March Madness came, the tournament is back! With that, the Wisconsin Badgers have an opportunity to start fresh and pick up a win tomorrow night.
First, the Badgers have to contain North Carolina’s second chance opportunities.Their fast-paced offense and athletic lineup present many opportunities for second chance points.
Second, Wisconsin must find ways inside to score. The offense hasn’t been pretty, particularly in second halves this season and late game situations. However, when Wisconsin did get the ball inside, the offense clicked and spaced out the defense. If the Badgers are effective from both inside the paint and behind the three, it not only can propel them against North Carolina, but in the rest of the tournament.
If you can slow North Carolina down, like the #Badgers will surely do, very beatable.
3-7 when they don't score 70. Haven't won that type of game since Jan. 5 and have lost five straight.
Also 0-2 against the two slowest paced teams on their schedule.
— Evan Flood (@Evan_Flood) March 14, 2021
Lastly, whoever controls the pace of this game will win tomorrow’s matchup. Whether it’s North Carolina’s quick attack of Wisconsin’s methodically pace, control the speed of the game and that team will come out on top.
With all that, I’ll take the Badgers in this game. It won’t be easy, but I think Wisconsin’s slower pace favors them. Controlling the boards will be challening, but if the Badgers play as a group and a complete team, their experience could favor them in the tournament.
– Ben Spiering
Wisconsin 68 North Carolina 64
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