Preview: Big Ten/ACC Challenge – UNC vs. Wisconsin


UNC (AP 5/ESPN 5) is coming off a bad loss in Las Vegas and Harrison Barnes may or may not play (he’s going to play).

Wisconsin  (AP 9/ESPN 7) has cruised this year without once being threatened.

The ACC is down 2-4 in the Challenge after last night’s games, and considering UNC/Wisconsin is the last game on the docket, it may be up to UNC to either salvage a tie, or even pull out a win for the conference.

They’ll have their hands full in Chapel Hill tonight.

  • Both teams will rely heavily on their PGs, as if they didn’t have to every game. Wisconsin trots out senior Jordan Taylor, who many talking heads believe is the best PG in college basketball. He may be averaging five less assists per game than Marshall at 5.8, but Taylor is the zeitgeist of this Badger team and has been for several years now.
  • As a team, guard Ben Brust is leading the team in scoring at 12.8 ppg. The sophomore takes the majority of his shots from three and hits close to 50 percent. Wisconsin is second in the nation at three point accuracy at 47.2. Nine players for the Badgers have connected on 2 or more threes this season.
  • Wisconsin also leads the nation in scoring defense at an astounding 39.2 ppg. Only one team exceeded 50 points against the Badgers, with that being BYU its last game.
  • BYU is most notable team Wisconsin has played, and that is nowhere near the same BYU team from last season. Other than that, Kennesaw State, Colgate, Wofford, Bradley and a team with a Kangaroo mascot is not a who’s who of college basketball.
  • This is how Wisconsin ranks nationally: Scoring, 100th; Rebounds per Game, 43rd; Assists per Game, 19th; Field Goal Percentage, 22nd.
  • This is how UNC ranks nationally: Scoring, 5th; Rebounds per Game, 10th; Assists per Game, 3rd; Field Goal Percentage, 16th.
Waiting for UNC after tonight’s match-up is no. 1 Kentucky on Saturday in Lexington. Not that the Heels shouldn’t be looking ahead of themselves – not that they could with this game staring them down – but if the Heels happen to fall tonight it will be a much tougher hole to climb out of, at least for the next game.
Prediction: UNC 68, Wisconsin 63